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Inspire a Child with the Gift of College Savings

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Becoming a parent is a special experience. It’s truly inspiring to watch your kids’ eyes light up and their minds open wide when you ask them what they dream of becoming when they grow up. There’s magic in the moment when they believe they can be anyone and do anything; and with the right encouragement, they can.

One of the best ways to support their dreams is to help them save for college, and it’s never too early. College is expensive. It’s increasingly difficult for students to pay their way through school without the need for costly student loans, yet having a college degree is becoming necessary to stay competitive in the job market. It’s essential for students to have family support to ensure college is truly a reality and not just a dream.

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 Program (GET), 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 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.

The DreamAhead College Investment Plan complements the GET program and provides additional savings options for Washington families. DreamAhead is a market based 529 plan, so 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.

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.

Preparing for the costs of higher education can be daunting, but you’re not alone. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and even friends can contribute to your student’s 529 plan. To learn more about Washington College Savings Plans and to find out how you can give the gift of education, visit www.wastate529.wa.gov or call 1.800.955.2318. The GET program’s annual enrollment period ends May 31, and DreamAhead is open to enrollment year-round.

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