New student loan legislation could affect the way colleges treat 529 plan assets and Coverdell education savings account assets when assessing student financial need.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, has included a provision in Section 104 of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 that would include 529 plan distributions, other prepaid tuition plan distributions and Coverdell ESA distributions in the definition of “other financial assistance.”

The section also would define “qualified education benefits” as assets of the student receiving the benefits, according to a copy of the bill text distributed by Miller’s office.

The number of the bill, which was written mainly to change the student loan and Pell Grant programs, was not available at press time.

A copy of the bill is available