OLYMPIA – Families looking for a safe and convenient way to save for college have until May 31 to enroll in GET. Thousands of parents are continuing to opt for the state’s guarantee and GET’s flexible, tax-advantaged options for saving. After May 31, enrollment will be closed until the fall, when it will reopen at a higher price.
More than 140,000 accounts have been opened since the program began in 1998. Over 25,000 students have already used their GET accounts to attend colleges in all 50 states and five foreign countries.GET accounts can be used to attend almost any public or private college, university or vocational school in the country.
As a 529 plan, GET offers tax-free growth and withdrawals. The cost of one GET unit today is $163. 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. Families can buy any amount from 1 to 500 units per student, though the average GET account holds just under 200 units.
Betty Lochner, director of the GET program, encourages families to save an amount that fits best within their budget. “The important part is to get started saving,” she said, “and then have a plan to contribute regularly as your child grows. You’ll find that even small amounts add up over time.With tuition costs soaring, GET is a very good option, especially for families with young children. Parents who start early have the opportunity to save literally thousands of dollars on the future cost of college,” she said.
Over 11 percent of new accounts are opened by a child’s grandparents.
GET’s website at http://www.get.wa.gov offers details, charts, planning tools and answers for many of the questions families may have about the program.
Most accounts are opened online, and customer service staff is available at (800) 955-2318 to help families with any additional information they may need.