Should You Tap Retirement Savings to Fund College? There are three things to consider before dipping into retirement savings to pay for college. Share | Related Content The Power of Tax-Deferred Growth Why are 401(k) plans, annuities, and IRAs so popular? What Is a Stretch IRA? If you have a traditional IRA, you may have the opportunity to extend its tax-deferred status across multiple generations. Retirement Plan Distributions There are a number of ways to withdraw money from a qualified retirement plan.