Deadline for state college tuition savings plan nears; midnight Saturday is last chance

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIA — A state program that allows parents to save for their children's college education will close the enrollment year soon.

The deadline is midnight Saturday for parents to open a Washington Guaranteed Education Tuition account before the state program closes for this enrollment year.

The current unit price is $172.

Program enrollment will reopen Nov. 1 with a new unit price; however, newborns may be enrolled year-round up to their first birthday.

GET is Washington's 529 college savings plan that is guaranteed by state law to keep pace with rising tuition while also offering tax-free growth and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses.

GET accounts

The future value of 100 units is equal to one year of resident, undergraduate tuition and required state fees at the highest-priced Washington public university — University of Washington or Washington State University — no matter how much tuition increases.

Money in a GET account can be used to pay for tuition, room and board or other qualified expenses at nearly any public or private college, university or technical school in the country.

Accounts are fully transferable to other family members, and flexible plans allow for regular monthly contributions or occasional deposits.

The current payout value, effective through July 31, for one GET unit is $117.82.

“Over the past decade, college costs in the state of Washington have gone up nearly 10 percent every year,” said Betty Lochner, director of the GET program.

“Even more startling, student loan debt in our nation is now up to $1 trillion, with the average student graduating with more than $29,000 in debt.”

Start saving early

Lochner encourages families to start saving when their kids are young.

“The amount that is being saved is not as important as establishing a regular contribution plan,” she said.

“A small monthly contribution can add up over time and will significantly reduce the debt a young person may face upon graduation.”

According to the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, children with a college savings account are seven times more likely to attend a four-year college, compared with children with no dedicated account.

In addition, a recent study by Georgetown University's Center on Education reported that by 2020, more than 65 percent of new jobs in the United States will require a college education.

Over 93 percent of enrollments in Washington's GET Program are completed online at www.get.wa.gov.

Paper enrollments are accepted and must be postmarked no later than midnight Saturday.

This deadline applies to all new enrollments as well as all new custom monthly plans for existing accounts.

For more information, phone 800-955-2318 or email GETInfo@wsac.wa.gov.

Last modified: May 30. 2014 9:53AM
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