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Tag Archive: College Savings Month

Thanksgiving: A Great Time to Recognize the Education Pilgrims in Our Lives!

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On May 9, 1998, I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. This was not a fluke, it was an intentional goal set by my parents the day I was born. Neither my mom nor my dad had the opportunity to pursue a degree.

My mom is a self-taught computer programmer who became independent at the age of 16 and worked full-time while finishing high school. My dad is the son of a farmer from Iowa who was captured while building runways in Japan during WWII. He was held as a prisoner of war for close to six years. Because my grandfather’s health was not the best after the war, my dad also worked through high school to support his family and when he graduated, college was not an option.

Throughout their careers, my parents inspired me with their work ethic, positive attitude and compassion for others. Dad worked nights so he could be there for us when we got home from school and for a while he worked selling real estate on the weekends. My mom was constantly learning new skills and programming languages to stay relevant in a male dominated industry that was changing by the minute.

_95A1504It wasn’t until I was older that I realized my mom worked with really smart people who had master’s degrees in computer science from MIT. I also realized that my dad had built a business importing and exporting goods to China based on common sense people skills he learned from decades of customer service work.

The reason I didn’t recognize how hard my parents worked was because they never talked about their jobs; they were too busy giving my sister and me every opportunity to grow and succeed in and out of the classroom. While my parents did not have very much money in the early years, they always put money aside for college. They were going to ensure that our dreams would not just be fantasies but attainable realities.

When researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently announced that students with a college savings account in their name are seven times more likely to pursue a post-secondary education, I was not surprised. Growing up knowing that hard-earned money had been set aside for me to go to school was a huge motivator for keeping good grades and pushing me with challenging pre-requisite college courses. I knew a lot of people in my family had worked and sacrificed for generations to give me that opportunity to further my education and I was not going to let them down.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am so grateful to my parents for their love, mentorship and belief in the transforming power of a college education. If you have the opportunity this holiday season to thank a teacher, coach or parent for their investment in you, do it and be sure to let them know how they’ve made a difference.

Written by Ryan Betz

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Building Your College Savings Game Plan

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It’s the most, wonderful time, of the year! Not only is it College Savings Month, we’re also getting into the thick of FOOTBALL SEASON!

Like executing a winning game plan, saving for college takes thoughtful preparation, dedication and commitment. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. First things first – if you don’t already have a family budget, start one

Starting your college savings is not the only play you’ll need to draw up for a successful financial game plan, especially when you’re busy raising young kids. This is why it’s important to make a comprehensive strategy mapping out all of your expenses, so you can identify opportunities to fit college savings into the mix. Without accounting for all of your other expenses, drawing up an effective college savings attack may prove quite difficult.

2. Get started as soon as you can

The sooner you can start saving, the easier it will be to accumulate significant savings in your college accounts. Starting when your kids are infants or even before birth is ideal, but don’t panic if you miss that opportunity. Even if you can get started when your kids are still in pee wee football, you have significant time to make an impact.

3.       Keep adding to your savings

Like the Seahawk’s running attack, it’s all about “Feeding the Beast.” Even if you can only tear off a couple of yards per down (such as $25 or $50 a month), don’t get discouraged or put off contributing to your savings; small amounts add up over time. Just keep converting those third downs and your college savings will have the potential to grow significantly in value, and give you a good shot at winning the game.

4.       Don’t set it and forget it

Whenever an opportunity comes along to add more to your savings take advantage of it. The best NFL teams know that this is one of the most important factors in winning the game. Sure, it’s important to have a hungry ball-hawking defense that flies around trying to create turnovers, but it’s equally important for the offense to do their job and transform those turnovers into points.  If you receive a windfall such an unexpected inheritance, pay raise, or tax refund, make sure that some of that ends up in your college savings.

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In closing, as you’re busy trying to hold back the pass rush of multiple expenses and priorities, take a minute to ask yourself this question: “Do I want to have a well-drawn up, cohesive game plan, or do I want to just get by and pin my hopes on a last second 60-yard Hail Mary to the end zone?” While it takes time to sit down and lay out your plans, the payoff will be worth it. To quote Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson: “The separation is in the preparation.”

Written by Lucas Minor

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Show Your School Spirit for a Chance to Win a $200 Gift Card

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The school year is back! Student’s all across the country are headed back to school recharged (hopefully) from a long summer break. As many of our friends and family head off to college, school spirit is in abundance. At GET, we’re celebrating the new beginning with a “Show Us Your School Spirit” promotion!

To play along, direct message us through Facebook before Friday, September 26, with pictures of you and your family sporting your favorite college gear! Be sure to include an approval for us to share the picture on our Facebook page. Pictures will be posted to a School Spirit album on GET’s Facebook Timeline. On September 26th, the top three pictures will be selected by a panel of GET staff members. The criteria will be based on the amount of school spirit shown (hint: the more gear, flags and large foam accessories you show, the more likely we are to be wowed by your team spirit). We will also consider any especially unique ideas, and the amount of family and/or friends you get involved. From the 26th to the 29th, the top three fan pictures will be shared on GET’s Facebook page, and we will ask our Facebook followers to “Like” the picture that they believe shows the best school spirit. The fan who submitted the picture that garners the most “Likes,” will be awarded a $200 gift card. That’s enough to outfit the entire family in your favorite college sports swag!

Don’t forget to be creative and have fun with it. Now get out there, show your school spirit, and get ready for what’s sure to be a great year in academics!

Written by Dan Payne

*Disclaimer: GET’s September “Show Your School Spirit,” promotion will take place from  Monday, September 15, 2014 through Monday, September 29, 2014. Prize will be awarded in the form of a $200 gift card. The Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program reserves the right to choose the vendor. To be eligible to win the $200 gift card, send a direct message to GET through Facebook with a picture showing you or your family’s “school spirit” before Friday September 26. Pictures will be shared in our School Spirit Facebook picture album. By 5 pm on the 26th, pictures will be judged by a panel of GET staff members, based on the amount of school spirit displayed in the picture and the creativity involved, and a top three will be selected. From the 26th to the 29th, the top three will be posted and shared on GET’s Facebook page, where GET Facebook Followers will be asked to “Like” the photo they believe shows the best school spirit. By September 30th, the picture that garners the most “likes” will be announced as the winner.

The selected winner will be notified by GET via Facebook private message and will have seven days to claim their prize by replying to the private message. If they do not reply to the GET program within seven days, the prize will be awarded to the fan whose picture received the second-most “Likes”. Gift card prizes will be delivered to prize winners no later than October 31, 2014. When prizes are sent, there will be an enclosed form confirming receipt of the gift card. Prize winners will be required to complete this form and return to the program no later than November 30, 2014. Employees and family members of employees of the GET program and its parent agency, the Washington Student Achievement Council are not eligible to participate in this promotion. Neither Facebook, nor the gift card vendor are affiliated with, and do not otherwise support or endorse this promotion or the GET program.

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Top 10 reasons to save for college

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Another September is here, and that means another College Savings Month! This month is a time where 529 plans around the country commemorate college savings and recognize the importance of starting while kids are young. In that spirit, we’re kicking off our celebration with some reminders of why saving for college is so important:

1) Reduce the need for student loans.
With student loan debt now at an average of $30,000 per borrower, and with total nationwide student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion, it’s more important than ever to save now to avoid borrowing later.

2) Expand your child’s college choices.
Your college savings have the potential to expand your child’s college choices. If an Ivy League school comes calling, wouldn’t it be great to tell your student “We’re so excited to support you in this opportunity,” rather than “We wish we afford this opportunity.”

3) Create a college-bound culture for your family.
Studies show that children who have college savings accounts in their name and know it are seven times more likely to do well in school and go on to college. Plus, setting this precedent for your children may lead them to do the same when they start their own families.

4) Reduce stress.
Your savings efforts will pay off in peace of mind. You and your children will be able to focus on “where” they want to go to school instead of “if” they can even go.

5) Create financial literacy learning opportunities for yocollegesavingsbankur kids.
Use your thoughtful planning and saving as a tool to teach your kids about the importance of being prepared, managing finances and the time value of money.

6) It makes a great gift.
The gift of college tuition is one that will keep giving for a lifetime by giving your child access to academic and personal growth opportunities as well as expanded employment options.

7) Improve your children’s long-term financial security.
Without the burden of tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, your children will be better set up for their own economic prosperity – the ability to purchase a home, start putting away for retirement and of course, start saving for their own kids’ college education.

8) Pay less for college costs.
By saving while kids are young, you’ll give your money the opportunity to work for you and grow in value. Pair that with the reduced need to borrow money, and the total college bill will set you back significantly less.

9) Keep your household expenses in check.
By committing to saving, you’re simultaneously making a commitment to reduce your spending. You’ll be amazed to find how much money slips out the back door when you’re not looking.

10) Ensure your nest stays empty in the future.
By setting your kids’ up with the tools they need to be marketable in the business-world and by helping them achieve financial independence by reducing the need for loans, you’ll get a chance to enjoy one of the best benefits of saving for college. Just think about how nice it will be to have your space back and your pantry full.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to save for college while your kids are young. The most important thing to remember is to not let the prospect of how much college may cost in the future be overwhelming or discourage you from getting started. A dollar saved today is a dollar (or more) you won’t have to borrow down the road. Beyond that, when you make an investment in your children’s futures, you are setting them up for a lifetime of opportunity!

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