Parent to Parent: How to save for kids college

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Saving for college can be a daunting experience. With costs outpacing inflation, many parents don't know where to start. Betty Lochner from the Washington State GET program offers some tips that can help.

What’s the best way for parents to begin saving for college?
Thousands of families each year get started by opening a GET account – all it takes is a $50 enrollment fee and 1 unit to get started – and then you should make a solid plan to keep adding to it. Some families like to put something in each month, others like to add lump sums to celebrate birthdays and holidays, or maybe they’ll contribute their tax refund each year. With GET you decide how much you want to save and when. The important thing is – don’t put it off, get started doing something!

How does the GET Program work?
GET is Washington’s 529 prepaid tuition plan – you simply save money in a GET account and its guaranteed to increase in value at the same rate as rising college tuition. It’s not dependent on the ups and downs of the stock market. Because it’s a 529 plan, the earnings are tax-free and when you go to use it for college it’s tax free. We’re starting November 1  this year, so enrollment opens soon. And you can do it all online.
You can also use your GET money at an out-of-state or private school.   The value of your account is tied into the Washington State schools, but you can use that money at schools in all 50 states and five foreign countries.

What if your child gets a scholarship, or maybe decides not to go to college?
You can wait, transfer the account to another child, or request a refund. By 2015 over 60% of new jobs will require some college education recession - It’s a fact that kids are going to need some additional training/education post-high school. And the number of Washington jobs for those with college degrees has actually grown during this recession.

For more information, go to the ParentMap website.

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