Saving early and often can make all the difference

Kids want to know everything. From what you are doing and why you are doing it, to when it will happen and how long it will take. One of the joys of being a parent is getting to show them hows and whys along the way. One thing worth teaching them early on is the importance of saving. Children are seven times more likely to attend college if they know they have a college savings account waiting for them.

National student loan debt has topped $1.5 trillion, with the average student graduating with $37,000 in debt. Studies show that this debt takes its toll, causing graduates to delay plans to buy a house or start a family. Planning ahead with a 529 college savings account can help families save for future higher education expenses, making college more affordable and more accessible.

The key to being prepared is to start saving early, make regular contributions, and choose a savings option that will help you meet your goals. Every family is different, and no single approach is a perfect fit. That's why Washington College Savings Plans (WA529) provides families with a diverse set of options to build a college savings strategy that works for them. With WA529, families can choose between the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program, and the DreamAhead College Investment Plan.

As a prepaid tuition plan, GET guarantees that if you buy 100 units today, those units will always be worth one year of tuition and state-mandated fees at the state's most expensive public university, regardless of how much tuition changes. You don't have to worry about the ups and downs of the stock market. You can rest assured that the money you save in GET will be there when your student is ready for college. GET's annual enrollment period runs from November 1 through May 31.

The DreamAhead College Investment Plan complements the GET program and provides additional savings options for Washington families. DreamAhead is a market-based 529 plan, and its investment returns are tied to financial market performance. Families have multiple investment choices with varied degrees of customization and risk. DreamAhead's investment options range from funds that automatically adjust as your student approaches college age, to others that give account owners greater control. DreamAhead is open for enrollment year-round.

It's impossible to know where the ambitions of our loved ones might take them, and the freedom for them to choose their own path is priceless. With GET and DreamAhead, they can use their college savings nearly anywhere in the country at public and private universities, colleges and technical schools. In addition, all earnings and withdrawals from any 529 plan are tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses. You can learn more about how these programs work at



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