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If I have a Roth IRA and have met the 5 tax year limit but I am under 59 1/2 years old, is an early withdrawal for my child's college both penalty free and earnings tax exempt?

No. See page 42 of IRS Publication 590. You'll not owe the penalty on withdrawals paid directly to an educational institution, but you will owe income tax on any earnings withdrawn before 59 1/2 for this purpose. This is not a "qualified" distribution.

Also are there any limitations on the type of college (public vs private) at which you can use the money?

There are some restrictions, also mentioned in Pub 590, but both public and private institutions qualify.

Phil Marti
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