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Tag Archive: Financial Literacy

529 Day Inspired Learning Giveaway

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Enter to Win Tickets to One of Washington's Museums and Inspire Lifelong Learning



At GET we believe that learning doesn’t begin or end in the classroom. It starts with the first question, and draws on the world around us for inspiration. To celebrate 529 day, GET would like to offer you a week-long chance to win tickets to one of Washington’s many fantastic science centers or museums in hopes that a visit may fan the flames of curiosity in your little learner. “Like” one of our 529 day Facebook posts and send us “529 Day” as a direct Facebook message before 11:59 pm on May 31 to be entered into a drawing to win one of six prize packages! Winners will select tickets to a museum/science center* of their choice from the following list:

Group A

  • Pacific Science Center – Seattle
  • Seattle Art Museum – Seattle
  • Museum of Flight – Seattle

Group B

  • Hands on Children’s Museum – Olympia
  • Mobius Science Center – Spokane
  • Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture – Spokane
  • Washington History Museum – Tacoma
  • Children’s Museum of Tacoma – Donation only
  • Imagine Children’s Museum – Everett
  • The Reach Museum – Richland
  • Children’s Museum of Skagit County – Burlington
  • Whatcom Museum – Bellingham

* The named museums/science centers do not support or endorse this promotion or the GET program.

The prize packages are as follows:

Grand Prize – $80 value (1 winner)

Choose 1

  • 4 tickets to a Group A venue
  • 8 tickets to a Group B venue

First Prize – $60 value (2 winners)

Choose 1

  • 3 tickets to a Group A venue
  • 6 tickets to a Group B venue

Second Prize – $40 value (3 winners)

Choose 1

  • 2 tickets to a Group A venue
  • 4 tickets to a Group B venue


This promotion will run Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 11:59 pm.


GET’s Inspired Learning promotion will take place from Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Wednesday, May 31, 2017. There will be a total of six (6) prizes awarded (One Grand Prize, two First Prizes, and three Second Prizes. See above for prize package descriptions). Prizes will be awarded at the end of the promotion by a process of random selection from a pool of all individuals who “Like” one of GET’s 529 day Facebook posts. The order of the prize drawing will be from least to most valuable prize package, with the “Grand Prize” awarded last. Individuals who “Like” one of GET’s 529 day posts AND send us “529 Day” as a direct Facebook message before 11:59 pm on May 31 will receive a maximum of one entry into the final prize drawing. The prize drawing will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, June 1, 2017.

Selected winners will be notified via Facebook direct message and will have seven (7) days to claim their prize and if they do not, GET program staff will hold additional drawings until a selected winner claims his or her prize. Individuals can only win one prize package during the course of the entire promotion. Washington Student Achievement Council employees and their families are not eligible for this promotion. The named museums/science centers do not support or endorse this promotion or the GET program.

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Preparing for College is a Group Effort

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Today I just returned from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Leadership Conference where high-ranking elected officials and business executives discussed the future economic health and vitality of the Puget Sound region. Leaders discussed foreign direct investment in the State of Washington, the marketing and branding of the Seattle area to the rest of the country and world, and the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as it relates to building and maintaining new industries in the Pacific Northwest. The one common denominator amongst all these discussions was the critical importance of education.

 Whether it was a conversation about K-12 education reform or the need to expand programs at our state’s universities and community colleges, everyone agreed we need to graduate more students from higher education institutions with the skills to meet the needs of today’s 21st century economy. As we all know this is not and inexpensive endeavor and the costs of education continue to rise especially in the STEM fields because of the expertise needed to teach these programs and because of the high tech equipment required to run labs and support hands-on learning.

increase grads callout One of the key discussion points I shared was the importance of families saving for their kids higher education when they are young so that college is not just a dream but a reality. I also emphasized the importance of the business community to step forward and help families save by offering 529 plan payroll deduction to their employees. Even more powerful, I suggested that both businesses and government consider incentives for savings by offering matching programs so that parents are encouraged to save more and are better prepared to meet the rising costs of education. The one thing that improves access to education is resources and the one way we can help increase the number of college graduates in our country is to help people save!

 Saving for college should be a partnership effort between government, parents and business because less debt means more spending and economic buying power for the next generation of graduates. It is proven when students graduate with more debt they are less likely to buy homes, cars, and technology because their income is being used to pay off loans. Student loan debt also has a significant impact on innovation as graduates don’t have the credit availability to startup new businesses and 60% of new jobs in our country are created by startups. Student loan debt also affects career choices. higher ed calloutStudents who have huge loans to pay off can’t afford to take lower paying public service jobs because they need higher paying private sector jobs in order to afford their loan payments. Ten years ago student loan debt for our country totaled $300 billion. Today student loan debt has quadrupled and is now at $1.2 trillion.

 If we want to fill that talent gaps that exist in our country and continue to feed the innovation that will drive the future economic growth of industry in our nation, we need to be at the forefront of creating meaningful partnerships and incentives that allow families to save for the future education needs of their children. Higher education should not be looked at as a private benefit but rather a public good. Let’s work together and be on forefront of creating instrumental change to the access of higher education in our country.

Written by Ryan Betz

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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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Green Ways to Save Some Green

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Save-GreenA couple of weeks ago we talked about six savings tips to boost your college savings. This week, in honor of Earth Day on April 22, we’ve compiled some more money-saving tips that will help you cut your costs and reduce your family’s carbon footprint. By making small adjustments and putting the savings towards future college expenses, you can make things a lot easier on yourself with the added benefit of giving the planet a helping hand.

Reduce Car Trips
When looking to cut your fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, the daily commute is the first place to look. From carpooling or taking public transit to walking or biking, there’s sure to be an option that suits you no matter how far you live from the office.  Another opportunity is to combine trips when running errands. By making weekly shopping lists and strategizing your route, you can significantly cut your number of trips, fill your tank less and save valuable time.

Consider Buying Used
Save yourself some serious some cash while extending the useful life of perfectly good items. There are lots of opportunities to get great deals, especially when it comes to picking up essentials for the kids such as strollers, clothes, toys and books. Garage sales, Craigslist and consignment stores are just a few places you can pick up some great treasures.

*Bonus: Keep the cycle going by selling or donating items as your kids outgrow them.

Reduce Energy Consumption
There are so many opportunities to cut energy costs in your home, ranging from simply shutting off lights when leaving a room and adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees, to more involved endeavors such as sealing gaps around doors and windows, adding insulation, and upgrading to energy efficient appliances. It may also be worth considering a home energy audit to find opportunities to cut your costs. Many cities and counties partner with local businesses or non-profit organizations to provide this service at a low or subsidized cost.

Be Water-Wise
While savings are more noticeable if you’re on a municipal water supply vs. a private well, reducing your water consumption is always smart choice for the planet. By avoiding running the water when brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers and installing water-saving flush valves on your toilets, you can potentially save hundreds, even thousands of gallons a year. When it comes to lawn and garden care, consider a rain barrel system for watering non-food plants and use mulch to reduce the amount of watering needed.


Make More Meatless Meals
On a cost-per-pound basis (in terms of actual cost and environmental impact), meat packs a much bigger punch than non-animal protein sources such as grains, beans and legumes. Many schools, restaurants, and families now set aside at least one day a week that’s dedicated to completely meatless meals. While often promoted first for the positive health and environmental impacts, meatless meals will usually cost you significantly less to make.

While these are just a few simple tips, there are literally hundreds of other little efforts you can make that can add up to positive long-term impacts on the health of your family’s finances and the environment. We encourage you to continually look for those little opportunities and bank the savings in your college fund, because even small amounts can really add up over time.

Written by Lucas Minor

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Financial Literacy & Consumer Focused Legislation Keys to Success for the Future of College Savings

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USCapitolBuildingThere are two things I really enjoy in life. One is visiting our nation’s capital. The other is watching Saturday Night Live. For years, I have been a lucky person because it seems like these two things always seem to find each other in funny satire political skits. Whether it’s Will Ferrell impersonating President George W. Bush or Jay Pharoah taking on the persona of President Barack Obama, you never have to look too hard to find humor in American politics. As easy as it is to poke fun at our country’s leaders, a trip to D.C. reminds one what a tough and big job our federal leaders have. From the economy to education and foreign policy to the environment; each day brings a new set of challenges for our elected officials. They are consistently pressed for their time and attention, just like many of us with our own jobs. The key to their success –like our own — is having an understanding of a variety of topics, issues and subject matters, while not losing sight of the big picture and remembering what’s most important. Two weeks ago I returned to my office after spending a productive week in D.C. at the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) Legislative Conference where financial literacy was an overarching theme. Given treasurers’ responsibilities of managing the finances of their states, they are very interested in the financial literacy of their citizens. This made me think about my own job in helping families save for their children’s college education and how we have an incredible opportunity to help young parents understand the basics of financial planning and budgeting. In addition to financial literacy, several state 529 program directors met with legislative staff to educate and gain support for H.R. 4333 and to also identify co-sponsors for the technical bill, which was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives late last week. This legislation will make 529 plans more flexible and remove some of the barriers participants may have to saving, including:

  • Making computers an eligible expense;
  • Allowing for investment changes up to four times a year (right now it is limited to once a year);
  • Allowing the redeposit of funds for certain circumstances (e.g. a student gets sick at the beginning of the term) (Right now you can’t redeposit funds to an account once they are disbursed);
  • Allowing leftover funds from a 529 to roll over to a Roth IRA under certain circumstances (e.g. a student gets a scholarship their last year, or graduates early).

While all of this technical work is important; it’s critical to remember why we are doing it. Our goal is to help improve the lives of families and children through education and smart financial planning. As student loan debt surpasses $1 trillion, it’s now more important than ever to ensure families have accessible and affordable ways to save for education and avoid being saddled with more student loan debt. We thank Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) for their leadership and effort to help American families as they strive to save for college. We look toward a swift action by Congress to ensure these measures are passed.

Written by Betty Lochner, GET Director and CSPN National Chair

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