Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Saving for College and College Savings Plans

Financial experts recommend that you develop a plan early on to save for college and consistently contribute money to it. Certified financial planners can help you develop a plan that works for your budget.

Researching the Cost of Colleges

You can find information about whether the cost of a college is low, medium, or high by using the College Scorecard. Keep in mind that a higher-priced school might have more financial aid available to help you pay for your education, so take a look at the school’s net price if you want an idea of how much it might cost you after financial aid is taken into account.

529 College Saving Plans

A 529 plan is a college savings plan named for the section of the Internal Revenue code (Section 529) that defines these types of plans.

Under this plan, you contribute after-tax money and your money grows tax-free, and all withdrawals are tax-free, when used for tuition, room and board, and other qualified higher education expenses.

There are two types of 529 plans:

  • College savings plan: You pick your investments and shoulder the investment risk. The value of your account is based on the performance of your investments. When it's time for college, you have whatever money is in your account.
  • Prepaid tuition plan: You prepay for college tuition today for use in the future. The value of your account is guaranteed by the state to keep pace with resident undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at the most expensive Washington public university. The state picks the investments and assumes all the investment risks.

Guaranteed Education Tuition Program (GET)

GET is a prepaid 529 college savings plan run by the State of Washington that allows you to 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 (typically the University of Washington or Washington State University).

Visit www.get.wa.gov to learn more.

Helpful Websites

  • WA 529
    Washington’s 529 Prepaid College Tuition Plan
  • College Savings Plan Network
    Nationwide clearinghouse for information on state administered college savings programs