If you are planning to help either your child or grandchild attend college someday, the best idea is to start saving early. Families who begin saving when their children are young have the opportunity to save more. They can also realize the greatest gain from their investments. “Over the past decade, tuition at Washington’s public universities has increased an average of more than 10 percent annually,” said Betty Lochner, direct or of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. “Tuition always goes up, so the Legislature created GET to help families save for future college costs.”
GET is our state’s 529 prepaid tuition plan, where your account is guaranteed by state law to keep pace with rising tuition, no matter how much it increases in the future. GET offers flexible savings options, as well as tax-free growth and withdrawals. GET accounts can be used to attend nearly any college, university or vocational school in the country. Unlike regular 529 savings plans, GET accounts are not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market. If the child decides not to attend college or receive a scholarship, you can hold onto the account for up to ten years, transfer the account to another child, or request a refund.
According to Lochner, more than 136,000 accounts have been opened since the program began in 1998, and already more than 22,000 students have used their units at colleges nationwide. In spite of the recession, the program has experienced a record number of new accounts over the past two years. Both parents and grandparents recognize the value of planning ahead and know they can save on future college costs with a GET account. Enrollment is underway and will continue through May 31, 2012.
For more information, visit www.get.wa.gov.