WA529 Plans Have Added Perks

Studies show that students who know they have the college savings available to them are nearly seven times more likely to attend higher education than those who don’t.  Starting a WA529 GET or DreamAhead account can put students on the path to a brighter future through higher education. 

What are WA529 plans?  In the simplest description, the Washington College Savings Plans, or WA529, are a collection of 529 college savings plans offered by the State of Washington.

The first program, created in 1998, is Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET, which entails paying tuition in advance at a set price. The value of GET units is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state college tuition and fees at the state’s highest-priced university (currently UW Tacoma).

Even after more than 23 years, the GET program continues to evolve and improve to ensure that it equitably meets the needs of those enrolled.  For example, recent adjustments have been made to limit the annual increases to the unit purchase price and those limits were retroactive.  This means that GET account owners who bought units during the last two enrollment periods (July 2019 to June 2021) have either had additional units deposited into their accounts, or soon will, to make up for the adjustment. 

For the first time in the program’s history, the 2021-22 GET unit price has been set at $114.01, which matches the 2021-22 GET Unit Payout Value.  “In addition to creating an unprecedented opportunity for GET savers this coming enrollment year to literally ‘purchase tomorrow’s tuition at today’s price,’ the cost of units in future enrollment years should be more affordable,” said Rodger O’Connor, Associate Director for Marketing and Communications for WA529.

The second WA529 plan is the DreamAhead College Investment Plan, a Bronze Award winner by Morningstar, Inc.  In this college investment plan, for which enrollment is open year-round, returns are tied to the performance of the financial market. Account owners select one of two saving options: year of enrollment portfolios, which gradually grow more conservative the closer the student gets to attending college, or static portfolios, that always let the account owner set the strategy.

DreamAhead savings and GET units can be used nearly everywhere—including out-of-state institutions, private schools, community colleges, trade and technical schools, and even to cover the cost of an apprenticeship.  Since 1998, more than 55,000 students have used GET in all 50 states and 15 countries worldwide.  The benefits of the two WA529 plans are vast.

For more detailed information on these programs or to get started visit Wastate529.wa.gov.