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How GET Works

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 increases in the future (even if it doubles or triples). The earlier you start saving, the greater the opportunity for increased value of your GET account. The value of a GET account is measured in "units," where 100 units represent the cost of one year of resident, undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at the highest priced public university in Washington. Individual units are valued at 1/100th of that cost. Units can be purchased in whole or partial amounts, from one to 500 units per student. GET was established in 1998 to help families save for their child's future higher education. Since that time, over 157,000 GET accounts have been opened and over 38,000 students have already used their accounts to attend colleges, universities, and technical schools nationwide.  Here's why:

State guarantee

Your GET account is guaranteed to keep pace with tuition and state-mandated fees at Washington’s highest priced public university. Your savings are not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market. The state guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Washington. That means 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. Washington's GET Program is one of only a few state prepaid college tuition plans in the country with a guarantee in state law (RCW 28B.95.050). 

Choice of colleges nationwide

You can use your GET account at nearly any public or private college, university or technical school in the country and even at some schools around the world.  The value of your account is determined by the cost of resident, undergraduate tuition at Washington’s most expensive public university (UW or WSU) but you can use your account to pay college expenses practically anywhere.  Your GET units have the same monetary value whether your child attends University of Washington, a local community college or a private university in another state.

Tax-free savings and withdrawals

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

Flexibility and control

You can use your GET account not only for tuition, but also for room and board, books, or other qualified expenses.  If your child chooses not to go to college or receives a scholarship, you can transfer your account to another family member, hold onto your account for a change of plans, save it for graduate school, or even request a refund.  And, unlike some other savings options, you, as the account owner, maintain complete control over the account and how the distributions are used.

Easy ways to save

You can set up a monthly payment plan,add funds whenever you have extra money to contribute, or choose a combination of the two. You decide how much and how often to save. If your needs or finances change, you can adjust your plan.  You can open an account for anyone – your child, grandchild, friend or even yourself.  The only requirement is that either the account owner or the student is a Washington resident at the time of enrollment in the program.