As I’ve shared before, our family opened GET accounts for each of our boys when they were babies.
While you obviously need to make the decisions that are best for your family, I can tell you that it’s been THE BEST one we’ve made. We were just talking with a fellow Scout parent the other night who was anticipating spending more than $100,000.00 in the coming years, as he and his wife send their two kids to college-and yes, that’s going to be the cost of a state school.
Can you imagine? We feel so good knowing that because we started early, we will not have to face a bill like that, and our boys won’t be saddled with piles of debt. Remember that time is on your side here-so if you have someone in diapers, NOW is really the time to get started on saving for their college plans with GET. Even a little bit now will be a big help later.
Now, there are a handful of questions that always come up, and even though this program has been around for quite a while now, our friends at GET tell me that they hear the same ones, too.
The good news is they’re totally open to answering them. In fact, let’s tackle those frequently asked questions head-on right now!
What is GET? –
GET is Washington state’s 529 prepaid college tuition program. With GET, you save money by prepaying part or all of your child’s college tuition costs now, to avoid paying higher costs in the future. The State of Washington guarantees that the value of your account will keep pace with the cost of resident undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at the most expensive public university in Washington.
How do I know it’s safe? –
GET is one of only four state-sponsored prepaid college tuition plans in the country with a guarantee in state law (RCW 28B.95.050). The state guarantees that if future tuition increases ever require the program to pay out more money than it has available, the Legislature would be required by state law to provide funding to cover the shortfall. GET is a self-sustaining program and does not rely on general state budget funds. The unit price is carefully evaluated twice yearly to ensure that future college funds will always be there for families who have enrolled their children in GET
What makes GET different than any other investment/savings method? –
First, the guarantee sets GET apart from any other investment because the value of a GET account is tied to tuition increases at the highest priced Washington public university. Because of this, families can be confident in knowing what their savings will get them in the future (e.g. if you buy 100 units today, you know that you will have one year of tuition and state-mandated fees covered at a Washington public university now and into the future, no matter how much tuition increases). Secondly, the earnings and withdrawals are tax-exempt when the money is used for higher education expenses.
Can GET be used at private colleges or out-of-state universities?
You can use your GET units at nearly any public or private college, university or technical school in the United States and at selected colleges in other countries. A college is eligible if it participates in federal financial aid programs through the U.S. Department of Education. To view the hundreds of participating schools, visit the FAFSA website.
Your GET units may not be enough to cover the full cost of tuition and fees at private or out-of-state colleges. If your school costs more than University of Washington or Washington State University, you pay the difference. If it costs less, you can also use GET units to pay other higher education costs such as room and board, books, etc
How do I enroll in the GET Program? –
It’s easy to enroll in GET online or by mailing a paper form:
- Online: Click “Start a GET Account” on our homepage to enroll online during our open enrollment period (November 1 – May 31). The on-screen instructions will guide you through the process.
- By Mail: You may also download an enrollment form and mail it in. Or, you can request that an enrollment form to be mailed to you. If you choose this option, make sure to request the Program Details booklet and/or the GET Enrollment Guide.
If you have any questions about the enrollment process you can get most of the information from the website or call or email the GET Contact Center at 800.955.2318 or GETInfo@wsac.wa.gov.
Do know that enrollment for the period closes May 31st. The good news is the process is super simple, but don’t wait if you’ve been meaning to get on this!
There are answers to MORE frequently asked questions here, and you can always call up and get more information.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with a combination of my opinion and provided text. You are ultimately responsible for the financial decisions for your family, and this post should not be substituted for professional guidance. You knew that, right?