Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

College Planning in Washington with a 529 on 5/29!
Author: peterabbarno
May 28, 2019

There may be no better time to remind Washington state residents of a 529 than on May 29 (5/29)! A 529 is a great way to begin saving for college and every little bit helps!

What is a 529?

A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. 

There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans.

College Savings Plans: You pick your investment and you assume the risk. The value of your account will be based on the performance of your investments.

Education Costs are on the rise!

Prepaid Tuition Plan (Washington’s GET Program): You prepay for college tuition today through units at a set value to be used in the future. The value of the account is guaranteed by the state to keep pace with the residential undergraduate tuition. States pick the investments and assumes the risk.

All fifty states and the District of Columbia sponsor at least one type of 529 plan. In addition, a group of private colleges and universities sponsor a prepaid tuition plan. 

Washington is a 529 plan!

The GET program is Washington’s 529 prepaid college tuition plan that helps families with young children save for future higher education expenses. The State of Washington guarantees that the value of your account will keep pace with the cost of college tuition, no matter how much it changes in the future.

How does it work?

A GET account can be created and units purchased. One unit = 1/100th of the actual resident, undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at Washington’s most expensive public university. You can use that money towards any qualified higher education costs (usually tuition, room and board, and books) at any qualified college, university or technical school in the country.

How do I enroll in the GET Program?

  • Online: Visit our GET Started page and click “Enroll Now” 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 to us. 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. You can find electronic copies of these documents on our forms page.

If you have any questions about the enrollment process you can get most of the information from our website or call or email our Contact Center at 800.955.2318 or GETInfo@wsac.wa.gov.