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.  

DreamAhead Opportunities for Students

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 bright future through higher education.  

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

The first one, created in 1998, is the Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET Program, 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).

The enrollment period for the GET program ends on May 31st and will re-open November 1st with a new, possibly higher unit rate.  Those enrolled in GET already can take advantage of the low 2020-21 rate by adding units until June 25th.

A bill currently progressing through the Washington State legislative process may result in those who purchased GET units during the 2020-21 enrollment period receiving extra units in their account, and a cap being placed on the price of GET units in the future – making the program even more affordable for Washington families.

The second WA529 plan is DreamAhead College Investment plan, which was recently named a Bronze Award winner by MorningStar.  A major accomplishment for a program in just its third year.  In this college investment plan, which has open enrollment all year long, returns are tied to the performance of the financial market. Account owners select one of two saving options, automatic 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. 

Compare Washington 529 Plans | wastate529.wa.gov

Washington College Savings Plans

Washington parents will have a new way to save for college this year. The state is opening DreamAhead, a type of 529 plan offered by many other states. 529 college savings plans help families save for future higher education expenses—making college more affordable and thus more accessible.

Parents may also pay tuition in advance at a set price today through the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET, plan. This plan just reopened on Nov. 1, after being closed for two years. Since 1998, GET has paid out more than $1 billion to 50,000 students attending schools nationwide.

DreamAhead 529 College Investment Plan

Intended to complement the GET program and provide additional savings options for Washington families, DreamAhead works differently than GET. DreamAhead’s investment returns will be tied to financial market performance.

Families interested in saving with DreamAhead will have multiple investment choices with varying degrees of customization and risk. “Year of enrollment” options will automatically adjust the investment mix as a student gets closer to college age. Stand-alone options will give investors flexibility to set and adjust their investment mix as they go.

GET Prepaid Tuition Program

GET allows participants to pay for future tuition via GET “units” purchased in advance. The new, lower unit price is $113 for the current enrollment period of Nov. 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018. GET units can be purchased in whole or partial amounts, from one to 600 units per student.

One hundred GET units are guaranteed to pay for a year of resident, undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at the state’s most expensive public college, no matter how much tuition costs may go up since the units were purchased. GET units can be used to pay college costs practically anywhere in the country and even at schools around the world.

Because GET is a state 529 plan, the after-tax money you put in will grow tax-free. When your child is ready for college, the money you withdraw will remain tax-free, as long as you use it for qualified higher education expenses.

You can open an account for anyone—your child, grandchild, a friend or even yourself. The only requirement is that either the account owner or the student is a Washington resident when you enroll in the program.

The earlier you start saving—such as when the child is in preschool or elementary—the greater the opportunity for increased value of your GET account. Why not “get” the whole family involved (grandparents, aunts and uncles) on birthdays or holidays and start saving today?

For more information on these two college savings plans, visit:

dreamahead.wa.gov

get.wa.gov

 

Kelly Lenihan