Start a GET account   |   Account Login   |   Latest News   |   Upcoming Events

A Message To HR, Benefits and Payroll Representatives.

| Leave a Comment

Hello HR, Benefits and Payroll Representatives.

Health and financial wellness programs are a valuable component for attracting and retaining a strong and valuable workforce. In the ever changing world we live in, it’s important to provide your employees with learning opportunities that will support and improve their financial goals. Saving for education is among one of the most sought after topics today.

As an employer, you can provide the resources and education opportunities your employees need to prepare for their families’ future. Join me in an upcoming webinar WA529 in the Workplace – Enhancing Employer Benefits with WA529  to learn how Washington’s 529 Plans – The GET Program and DreamAhead College Investment Plan — can enhance your employee benefit offerings and help your employees invest in their future.

 Click on a date to register:

June 16, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

June 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Your employees can also take advantage of our virtual learning center called the “WA529 Knowledge Café” where we hold weekly webinars on topics that support savings, financial wellness, 529 plan knowledge and other college planning resources. By sharing the link with them, they can join any of these short, engaging and interactive discussions that also provide opportunities for casual conversations with Q & A time. Here are some of the dates/times for upcoming webinars:

 

WA529 Basics  – Get to know the GET Program and DreamAhead Plan

Learn how Washington’s 529 Plans – The GET Program and DreamAhead College Investment Plan work.

 

Click on a date to register:

June 9, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

June 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Gifting to a 529 Plan – Contributions Made Easy

Education is a gift that truly lasts a lifetime. Learn the different ways to contribute to a WA529 Plan for your child, grandchild or family member.

 

Click on a date to register:

June 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

June 23, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


Stay-In & Enter to Win Amazon Gift Cards! *This promotion has ended*

| Leave a Comment

Weekly $50 winners:

Week 1-
Susan Brown, Tracy Whitmore, Melissa Busby, Vidian Cooper, Christina Rappin
Week 2-
Alison Van House, Curtis Lu, Veronica Richards, Danielle Stenvers, Melissa Hart
Week 3-
Mary Schultz, Kailin Jay, Peter Badame, Sara Sekerak, Julie Vinyard

 

Grand Prize Winners-

Margy Richardson

Arlene Grayer

Cheryl Berninghaus

Participate in WA529’s Virtual 529 Day Celebrations

May 6-29, 2020 11:59 am (noon) PDT 

PROMOTION INFORMATION

We recognize this is a unique time for us all,  so WA529 is getting creative with virtual opportunities to connect with Washington families who are interested in college savings plans or already saving for their child’s/grandchild’s future. To celebrate National 529 Day, WA529 is offering a Virtual Stay-in and Win promotion. Participate in one of our virtual challenges for the chance to win an Amazon Gift Card for as much as $529! 

Weekly Prizes to 5 lucky winners

 a $50 Amazon Gift Card awarded to each weekly winner  (5 per week, 15 winners total)

Grand Prizes will go to 3 lucky winners – 

a $529 Amazon Gift Card awarded to each grand prize winner (3 winners total)

HOW TO ENTER:   

There are 3 easy ways to enter to win, up to 3 entries per person each week if you choose to do all 3 activities. 

1.Participate in the Virtual Scavenger Hunt 

Find Hootie the Owl on the GET website – There are 3 Hootie images hidden on the website, each with a number next to it. Send us an email at wa529communications@wsac.wa.gov with the 3 numbers you found to be entered. 

2. Attend a Knowledge Cafe or webinar session 

In the Knowledge Cafe you will learn basic facts about saving with a WA529 College Savings Plan. Click HERE to see registration dates/times on our event calendar. 

3. Answer the weekly question and share on one of our Facebook posts about this promotion.

This week’s question: “Who is/was your child’s hero?”

Dates

This promotion will run May 6 – 29, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT.

Entries accepted for Week 1 – May 6, 2020 from 1:00 pm to May 8, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT.

Entries accepted for Week 2 – May 8, 2020 from 1:00 pm to May 15, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT.

Entries accepted for Week 3 – May 15, 2020 from 1:00 pm to May 22, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT.

Entries accepted for Week 4 – May 22, 2020 from 1:00 pm to May 29, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT

  • Weekly Winners will be contacted each Friday via email or Facebook messenger.
  • The Grand Prize winners will be contacted Friday, 5/29 via email or Facebook messenger.

 

DISCLAIMER INFORMATION

WA529’s Stay-in to Win promotion will take place from Tuesday, May 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm – until Friday, May 29, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT. Each participant must be 18 years or older to win.  Up to 3 entries total per person each week (one for each task completed) into the weekly drawings. Weekly participation ends at 11:59 am (noon) PDT  each Friday. Winners will be selected by random drawings from a pool of all participants. You may only be a weekly winner one time, however, each participant will automatically be entered into the final grand prize drawing on May 29, 2020 (including weekly winners). The Selected winners will be notified via email or Facebook direct message and will have thirty (30) days to claim their prize. If they do not, WA529 program staff will hold additional drawings until a selected winner claims his or her prize.  Washington Student Achievement Council employees and their families are not eligible for this promotion. For full details please read the Official Rules below.  Amazon does not support or endorse this promotion or Washington College Savings Plans.

Dates

This promotion will run May 6 – 29, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT.

Weekly Winners will be contacted each Friday via email or Facebook messenger.

The Grand Prize winners will be contacted Friday, 5/29 via email or Facebook messenger.

 

DISCLAIMER INFORMATION

WA529’s Stay-in to Win promotion will take place from Tuesday, May 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm – until Friday, May 29, 2020 at 11:59 am (noon) PDT. Each participant must be 18 years or older to win.  Up to 3 entries total per person each week (one for each task completed) into the weekly drawings. Weekly participation ends at 11:59 am (noon) PDT  each Friday. Winners will be selected by random drawings from a pool of all participants. You may only be a weekly winner one time, however, each participant will automatically be entered into the final grand prize drawing on May 29, 2020 (including weekly winners). The Selected winners will be notified via email or Facebook direct message and will have thirty (30) days to claim their prize. If they do not, WA529 program staff will hold additional drawings until a selected winner claims his or her prize.  Washington Student Achievement Council employees and their families are not eligible for this promotion. For full details please read the Official Rules below.  Amazon does not support or endorse this promotion or Washington College Savings Plans.

 

OFFICIAL RULES:  

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF WINNING.

  1. Eligibility: This promotion is open to all legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age as of the date of entry. The promotion is void where prohibited by law. Employees of Washington Student Achievement Council, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, (collectively the “Employees”), and immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the promotion. The promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that you meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, you agree to accept the decisions of Washington Student Achievement Council as final and binding as it relates to the content of this promotion.
  3. Promotion Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on May 6, 2020 and ending at 11:59 am Pacific Daylight Time on May 29, 2020. All online entries must be received by 11:59 am Pacific Daylight Time on May 29, 2020.
  4. How to Enter:   The Promotion must be entered by participating in one or all three of the 3 possible ways to enter. There are 3 easy ways to enter win each week, up to 3 entries per person each week if you choose to do all 3 activities for a total of up to 12 entries into the Grand Prize drawing.  1. Participate in the Virtual Scavenger Hunt Find Hootie the Owl on the GET website –  Find all 3 Hooties (just like the example above). Each Hootie will have a number next to it. Send us an email with the 3 numbers you found to be entered. 2. Attend a Knowledge Cafe or webinar sessions, In the Knowledge Cafe you will learn basic facts about saving with a WA529 College Savings Plan. Click HERE to see registration dates/times on our event calendar. 3. Answer our weekly question on one of our Facebook post about the promotion. Alternate means of entry: send a postcard with your name, address, phone number and email address to Washington Student Achievement Council, PO Box 43450, Olympia, WA 98504-3450.  The entry must fulfill all promotion requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. You must provide the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Washington Student Achievement Council.
  5. Prizes: The Winner(s) of the promotion (the “Winner”) will receive one gift card from Amazon. Weekly winner(s) receive a $50 Amazon gift card.  Grand Prize winner(s) receive a $529 Amazon Gift Card. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by Washington Student Achievement Council. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at Washington Student Achievement Council’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Washington Student Achievement Council to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
  6. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by random drawing under the supervision of Washington Student Achievement Council. Winner will be notified by email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram private message (provided by you at the time of entry) within five (5) days following selection of the Winner. Washington Student Achievement Council shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 3 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and release as required, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected. Receipt by Winner of the prize offered in this promotion is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY WINNER (AT WASHINGTON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT COUNCIL’S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CAMPAIGN, AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.
  8. Rights Granted by You: By entering this content (e.g., photo, video, text, etc.), You understand and agree that Washington Student Achievement Council, anyone acting on behalf of Washington Student Achievement Council, and Washington Student Achievement Council’s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Promotion, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes. without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent. Optional verbiage for Contests: By entering this content, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, You will be disqualified at the sole discretion of Washington Student Achievement Council, If the content of your entry is claimed to constitute infringement of any proprietary or intellectual proprietary rights of any third party, You shall, at your sole expense, defend or settle against such claims. You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Washington Student Achievement Council from and against any suit, proceeding, claims, liability, loss, damage, costs or expense, which Washington Student Achievement Council may incur, suffer, or be required to pay arising out of such infringement or suspected infringement of any third party’s right.
  9. Terms & Conditions: Washington Student Achievement Council reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the promotion should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond Washington Student Achievement Council’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Promotion. In such case, Washington Student Achievement Council may select the Winner from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Washington Student Achievement Council. Washington Student Achievement Council reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Promotion or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. Washington Student Achievement Council has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the promotion, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses; multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by promotion rules; or the use of bots, macros, scripts, or other technical means for entering. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the promotion may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such attempt be made, Washington Student Achievement Council reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  10. Limitation of Liability: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless Washington Student Achievement Council and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in the promotion and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.
  11. Disputes: THIS promotion IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this promotion, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this promotion, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Washington state having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Promotion). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  12. Privacy Policy: Information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the Washington Student Achievement Council website. To read the Privacy Policy, visit https://www.get.wa.gov/privacy.
  13. Winners List: To obtain a copy of the Winner’s name or a copy of these Official Rules, mail your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Washington Student Achievement Council, PO Box 43450, Olympia, WA 98504-3450. Requests must be received no later than June 30, 2020, at 5:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time.
  14. Sponsor: The Sponsor of the Promotion is Washington Student Achievement Council PO Box 43450, Olympia, WA 98504-3450.
  15. Facebook: The Promotion hosted by Washington Student Achievement Council is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


In These New Times

| Leave a Comment

Originally printed in U.S. News

In normal times, colleges and universities in the U.S. couldn’t simply flip a switch to become virtual learning institutions and continue to provide students federal financial aid without proper approval. But these are not normal times, as more than 100 institutions – and counting – have canceled in-person classes in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 disease.

“One flexibility a lot of institutions are using is the ability to switch from in-person classes to distance ed and not have to go through all of those approval processes. They can just make that change right now in the middle of the term,” says Karen McCarthy, director of policy analysis at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

“If an institution chooses that option, those students are fully eligible for the financial aid they have received and there will not be those financial aid disruptions there would be if the institution completely closed,” she says.

Despite this guidance, the chaos that has ensued following the unprecedented campus closures and class cancellations has hit financial aid departments as they attempt to address student questions and concerns. More answers and flexibility in federal financial aid may come in emergency legislation, McCarthy says.

“There are unaddressed issues that the Department of Education doesn’t have the authority to be flexible on; those are issues for Congress.”

Last Thursday, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington introduced the Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act, which includes $1.2 billion in emergency financial aid funding “to students in higher education to help address basic needs created by unexpected college closures and COVID-19 related disruptions, including food, housing, health care, and child care needs,” a fact sheet provided by NASFAA reads.

Students Face Unanticipated Costs as Campuses Close

As colleges pulled the plug on in-person classes in mid-March, some institutions also asked students to vacate campus in a matter of days. The move raised questions about room and board payments that had already been made by families and caused some backlash as students struggled to purchase last-minute flights and, in some cases, hire movers or find storage facilities for their belongings.

These costs can be particularly hard on low-income students, and on international students without nearby support.

Current Students in Most Cases Keep Their Financial Aid

Current students who continue their courses online due to canceled in-person classes will maintain their eligibility for federal financial aid.

However, not all courses can be easily translated – if at all – to online courses, such as labs and clinical practicums. Such classes may be canceled, and if a student drops down to part-time enrollment status, he or she may lose federal financial aid eligibility.

“Colleges are scrambling to try to figure out how to maximize distance education and do it wherever possible, but there are some classes where it’s just not feasible in any way,” McCarthy says. “If that is the case and the student’s enrollment status does change, that is one area where the Department of Ed doesn’t have flexibility in terms of keeping you classified as a full-time student in order to keep the aid you are eligible for.”

The Education Department has not yet fully addressed the financial aid outlook for admitted students planning to enroll in fall 2020 classes and students planning to take summer classes.

“These instructions do not contemplate accommodations for students who have not yet enrolled or whose term has not yet begun, with certain exceptions,” the department’s March 5 notice reads. “We will continue to monitor the situation and make a later determination of what accommodations may be necessary should longer-term interruptions become likely.”

Some Students May Receive More Financial Aid

In cases where a parent loses his or her employment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, financial aid administrators may be able to adjust and thereby increase a student’s aid.

“The use of professional judgment where students and/or their families have been affected by COVID-19 is permitted, such as in the case where an employer closes for a period of time as a result of COVID-19,” guidance from the Education Department reads.

Department of Education Ensures Work-Study Payments

Affected students who rely on federal work-study can anticipate receiving that aid even as they may be learning off campus through virtual classrooms or their campuses are closed.

“If the college closes such that the student can no longer work their federal work-study job or their off-campus employer closes and they’re not able to work those hours, the Department of Education says so long as the student started work, they can pay the student,” Kantrowitz says.

“But this guidance didn’t say how the colleges will pay students,” he adds, and payment may vary depending on a student’s typical work schedule and other factors.

Resources for Financial Aid and Other Programs

For information and guidance regarding several topics including financial aid, merit-based programs and target work forces visit Washington Student Achievement Council’s financial aid page.

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


Peace of Mind

| Leave a Comment

 

Yet another item to add to the to-do list this time of year: Taxes. Just the word alone can make you want to grind your teeth. You’ll ask yourself when you’re going to do them 100 times before they actually get done. But you should also be asking yourself another question. If I get a refund, what should I use it for?

The tendency is to want to spend it on a vacation, toy or gadget or maybe a new wardrobe. Maybe you even decide to “do the smart thing” and save it.  But what for? A rainy day? Retirement? Christmas fund?

Those are all great but there is one more you should add to the list and that is your child’s future. Higher education is a concern that can easily be placed on the back burner. However, before you know it, it will be here just like tax season. Even if just part of your refund goes there, a dollar saved now is one less dollar you may have to borrow in the future. A great way to save for higher education is with The Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) 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 Washington’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 are assured that the money you save in GET will be there when your student is ready for college.

All earnings and withdrawals from GET plans are tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses. Your student can use them to attend colleges, universities and technical schools anywhere in the country, and even abroad. GET enrollment runs until May 31st.

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


Knock Knock – Who’s There?

| Leave a Comment

 

Being a parent, you know the two major priorities for your child are to protect and provide for them. It is hard enough to do so in the here and now. Worrying about the future can almost feel like too much to ponder. With your focus on ‘What to have for dinner tonight’ it leaves little room for ‘Where will we get the money to send our child to college?’ But before you know it, this future concern will be knocking on your front door.

Meanwhile, the student loan crisis is getting out of hand. The average total student loan debt per person is $31,172, saddling college graduates with an average monthly payment of nearly $400. With statistics like these it’s is no wonder why many grads are putting off major life milestones such as buying a house or starting a family. There just isn’t enough money to go around.

With $1.6 trillion in student debt in the US already, how can you keep your child from being part of the statistic? Hopefully they are lucky or gifted enough to earn scholarships and/or grants. Loans and savings are also valuable tools your family can use to fund your child’s education. You may have to use one or all avenues to help cover the total cost. However, a dollar saved now is one less dollar that may have to be borrowed in the future.

Preparing for the costs of higher education for your child can be daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and even friends helping to boost your savings account can be a tremendous help. Many families are asking for monetary donations instead of toys or gifts for holidays and celebrations. The phrase “it takes a village” has never been truer than when preparing for your child’s future education.

Did you know your child is six times more likely to attend college if they know they have a savings account in their name? One great way to save for their future education is with WA529 college savings plans. With WA529, your family can choose between the Guaranteed Education Tuition Program (GET), and the DreamAhead College Investment Plan. As 529 plans, all earnings and withdrawals from GET and DreamAhead are tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses. Your student can use them to attend colleges, universities and technical schools anywhere in the country, and even abroad. If you would like to learn more about Washington College Savings Plans visit www.wastate529.wa.gov.

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


What Is College Tuition Insurance, and Do You Need It?

| Leave a Comment

 

With tuition costs rising each year there are actions you can take to help ensure your money reaches its full potential. One such option is investing with the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. 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. The funds can be used at any school in the country that accepts federal financial aid, and can be used for tuition, room and board, books and supplies, as well as a number of other expenses. In addition, all of the growth on a GET account accumulates tax-free if it’s used for qualified higher education expenses.

You don’t have to worry about the ups and downs of the stock market. You are 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.

Many graduates complete their studies with a pile of student loans. But what if your educational plans change mid-semester? Tuition insurance may be an option. Here, we’ll explain how student tuition insurance works and help you decide whether it’s right for you.

What is college tuition insurance?

As the name implies, college tuition insurance offers coverage in the event that you (or someone whose education you’re funding) wind up not completing a semester for which you’ve already paid.

Typically, you pay your college tuition prior to the semester it’s meant to cover. That means you pay for your fall semester the summer before, and you pay for your spring semester the winter before. By the time each respective semester starts, you’re paid up. In fact, often, you can’t register for college classes until your tuition for that semester is paid in full. As such, if you drop out of college mid-semester, whether due to illness or another reason, you risk losing the money you forked over.

In many cases, college tuition insurance can protect you from that financial loss. But the coverage you’ll get will depend on the specifics of your tuition insurance plan.

How does college tuition insurance work?

College tuition insurance works like many of the insurance plans with which you may already be familiar, such as trip insurance. You pay a premium, and in exchange, your insurance provider will reimburse you some percentage of your lost tuition in the event you or your child withdraws mid-semester.

The exact cost and coverage you’ll get with tuition insurance varies from plan to plan. But if you’re worrying how to save money on college, purchasing a tuition insurance policy isn’t going to break the bank. Generally speaking, you’ll pay 1% of your tuition costs for tuition insurance. For $50,000 of coverage, your cost could be as little as $500.

That said, you’re not guaranteed your entire tuition back with tuition insurance. Some policies will reimburse you only a certain percentage of your initial outlay. Therefore you’ll need to see what your plan entitles you to, and decide what level of coverage makes the most sense for you.

Also, each tuition insurance plan has its own set of covered reasons that render you eligible for reimbursement. Most of the time, you’ll be eligible to get your money back in these scenarios: illness (including mental health illnesses, sudden illnesses, and chronic illnesses), injury, death of the student, or death of the student’s parent or guardian

In some cases, withdrawals due to academic difficulty are covered as well. But many plans exclude certain mid-semester withdrawal scenarios, such as substance abuse issues. So check the fine print.

Where can I buy college tuition insurance?

You can buy student tuition insurance from student loan providers or a policy from a third-party insurance company. There are a few companies that offer college tuition insurance. A few of them include: GradGuard, A.W.G. Dewar, Education Insurance Plans, Markel Insurance Company. A Google search should yield some results, at which point you can get quotes and compare your options.

Should I get college tuition insurance?

College tuition insurance could save you a bundle of money in the event you wind up withdrawing from your studies mid-semester. But before you pay for a plan, make sure to check your school’s reimbursement policy. Many colleges actually have a refund policy for situations in which students withdraw, especially for medical reasons. You may not actually need insurance if your school’s policy is more generous. If you do buy a plan for extra protection when your college already has a decent refund policy, any payout you get from your insurer will be reduced by the refund you get from your school. Keep that in mind, too.

If the college you’re attending does not have a reasonable refund policy, and your tuition is expensive, then tuition insurance could be a smart investment. Say you’re paying upwards of $20,000 per semester for tuition alone. Spending another $200 or so in insurance could easily make sense. On the other hand, if you’re attending community college, where you might pay just $1,500 to $2,000 in tuition per semester, buying insurance may not be cost-effective.

In many cases, college tuition insurance can offer students and their families some much-needed peace of mind. But before you buy a policy, make sure you really need it. After all, your goal should be to minimize your student loans. It may be counterproductive to tack on another expense, especially if you’re already graduating with debt.

 

Reference: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/student-loans/articles/what-is-college-tuition-insurance-do-you-need-it/

 

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


529 Plans Just Became More Attractive for This Reason

| Leave a Comment

The student debt crisis has gotten truly out of hand. Americans now owe a collective $1.59 trillion in outstanding loans, spread out across nearly 45 million borrowers. Not only can carrying that debt constitute a major financial burden, but it can also impede other important goals, like buying a home or saving for retirement.

But thanks to the newly implemented SECURE Act, borrowers have a new source of funding available to help pay down their student loans: 529 plans. These state-sponsored college savings plans were traditionally reserved for up-front education costs, like tuition, not the debt associated with getting a degree. But now, those who owe money in student loans can use up to $10,000 in tax-free 529 funds to pay down their debt. Not only could this serve as a lifeline to borrowers, but it also makes 529 plans a much more appealing savings option.

The money you put into a 529 is not tax-free, but once that account is funded, your invested savings are entitled to tax-free growth. Furthermore, withdrawals from a 529 plan are also tax-free provided they’re used to cover qualified education expenses. For the record, that doesn’t just mean college; you can use a 529 to pay for private school for a K-12 student as well.

There are things you should be mindful of if opening an account. If you wind up with an excess of funds in your 529 that you don’t need for educational expenses, you’ll face a 10% penalty if you remove that money for non-qualified purposes. And while that penalty applies only to the gains portion of your account, and not its principal, it’s a deterrent for savers who would rather not have to worry about having more money in a 529 than they actually need. In addition, in that scenario, the earnings portion of your non-qualified withdrawal will be subject to taxes. However, you can always transfer the funds to another family member or even use them for yourself for continuing education.

The new rules, however, offer even more flexibility for those who save in a 529, because now, up to $10,000 can be used to pay down existing student debt. Furthermore, that $10,000 applies on a per-borrower basis, so if you have a 529 plan with an extra $30,000 in it, and you and your two siblings each have student loans, you can each take a $10,000 withdrawal from that account to pay down your debt.

If you’re in the process of saving for college, it pays to put money into a 529 plan. Not only will you possibly enjoy some tax benefits, but you’ll also have even more ways to use up that money if you end up in the fortunate position of having excess funds.

 

Reference: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2020/01/18/529-plans-just-became-more-attractive-for-this-rea.aspx

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


You Owe Your Children Financial Hygiene

| Leave a Comment

 

There are certain financial absolutes that come with achieving adulthood including: filing tax returns, understanding the basics of credit cards, mortgages and checking accounts, learning how to save and invest, and preparing for one’s retirement. I refer to these basic skills as financial hygiene. Far too many people achieve adulthood without any financial education. You’d think these basics of modern life would be taught in schools, but only a handful of states require financial education as part of the secondary school curriculum. Consider that in a recent survey of basic financial literacy, baby boomers averaged only a C grade, still, faring better than millennials who completely failed. In fact, only 40% of millennials even understand the concept of “interest.” As a society (and as parents) we are doing an awful job preparing our kids for their financial futures!

Financial hygiene is imperative in today’s world, and like most good hygienic habits they begin at home. It’s important to teach your children about money from an early age, because if you don’t it is likely that no one else will. Approaches vary from family to family, but an allowance tied to specific chores or opening a bank account to deposit cash gifts can teach valuable lessons about work and the importance of savings.

Unfortunately, as the survey cited above showed, young children are not always the only ones in need of a financial education. When it comes to kids, I have found it very effective to focus on the financial principles that will help the next generation grow, protect, and administer the wealth they ultimately will earn as well as inherit.

We have an organized approach to developing financial hygiene that we encourage clients to consider implementing, sometimes with our direct involvement.

I believe the best way to learn how to do something is through hands-on experience. I like to start by recommending an approach to understanding investments. Over the years we have counseled families on empowering the next generation by having the kids work directly with one of our younger investment professionals. We often suggest that parents gift their teenage and young adult children enough capital to allow them to construct an investment portfolio, perhaps with the kids kicking in some of their own money as well. The process includes opening an account with an investment custodian, developing an asset allocation and populating the portfolio with ETF’s and mutual funds. Occasionally, the kids may want to include some tech stocks in search of the next Apple or Amazon, which is fine with us. We also teach them how to read and interpret periodic statements, including assessing risk adjusted returns.

The process, even more than the outcome, provides newfound knowledge and experience that no book or seminar could ever duplicate. When the account is in their own name and it’s really their money, young people get interested in a hurry. I’ve seen several teenagers apply their “gamer” focus not only to engaging with seriously probing discussions about finance, but also learning financial ratios and googling annual reports and proxy statements!

When it comes to addressing financial education, every family is different; the comfort of seeding one’s child’s financial education varies greatly, because individuals mature differently. I have worked with childish 50-year-olds and very mature teenagers. The commonality is they all needed basic financial literacy.

When it comes to preparing our children to deal with the money they will earn and inherit, parents really have a serious responsibility to instill good financial hygiene. Now is a great time to start.

Credit: Forbes.com

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment


Crushing Your Goals For 2020

| Leave a Comment

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? It’s a new year, and for many people that means a fresh start. Maybe you made the standard pledge to yourself to get in better shape, or to be better organized in 2020. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, or travel more with the family.

A lot of us set ambitious goals while basking in the glow of a bright and shiny new year. (As for me, my resolution last year was to obtain visual confirmation of the existence of my garage floor.) But far fewer actually end up following through on those plans. According to a study published in the journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions ultimately accomplished their goals. That means, despite our best intentions, more than half of us will fail. (Yep, still looking for that garage floor.)

So how can you keep from falling into the category of Resolution Failure? Experts on the subject of resolutions (and believe it or not, we actually found some experts) offer tips such as setting specific and manageable goals, writing them down, sharing them with others, and reviewing your progress regularly. And don’t forget that you probably have technology, literally in your pocket, that can help you track and follow through on your resolutions. There are loads of reminder apps available out there that can help you build to-do lists and manage your tasks. (See, look at that, you’re already more organized. You’re crushing these resolutions!)

As a parent, you might choose to make a resolution to start saving for your child’s future education. Washington’s College Savings Plans (WA529) can help with that. Conveniently, WA529 offers two types of 529 plans to help you achieve your college savings goals:

  • The GET (Guaranteed Education Tuition) program is Washington’s prepaid tuition plan, where you buy units at a set price while your kids are young, and 100 of those units are guaranteed to cover the cost of a year’s tuition at the state’s highest-priced public university whenever they are ready to use it, no matter how high tuition costs go up between now and then.
  • The DreamAhead College Investment Plan is a traditional market-based 529 plan. Contributions are invested in various age-based or static funds of your choosing, depending on how comfortable you are with investment risk, and how close your child is to enrollment.

With both plans, your contributions grow tax-free as long as the funds are ultimately used for qualified education expenses. Plus, both plans offer automatic tools that allow you to schedule regular contributions from a linked bank account. This “set it and forget it” approach is an easy way for you to stay on track and meet your goals.

Here’s another tip: when friends and family ask for gift ideas for your child for birthdays or holidays, suggest to them that they skip the toy or video game and give the gift of college instead. GET and DreamAhead both offer gifting platforms that make it easy for Grandma and Grandpa to make a gift contribution by check or electronic deposit.

So you see, some resolutions are easier to keep than others. So even if you don’t succeed in hitting the gym four times a week, mastering the sitar, or finding your garage floor, with Washington’s College Savings Plans’ help, you can slam dunk your higher education savings resolution.

Happy 2020!

 

Posted in: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment