Let them unwrap the possibilities of education this holiday season

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

By Michael Meotti

Have you ever experienced anxiety trying to get that last-minute holiday gift for someone? It might have even been a Turbo-Man action figure or the coveted Tickle Me Elmo. While there is much joy in this season, there is often a degree of pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone in our lives.

If you’d like to beat the rush at the mall and the endless scrolling on Amazon, consider funding a 529 education savings plan instead.

529 plans make it easy and affordable to plan ahead for the cost of higher education. They can be used for nearly every level and type of schooling you can think of - from a four-year college or university, to technical or trade school and community college. Use it on tuition, books, computers, room and board, or even the costs associated with an apprenticeship. Regardless of your child or grandchild’s changing interests, saving in a 529 plan can give you peace of mind.

Here in Washington, you have two outstanding options. One is the Guaranteed Education Tuition program, known for nearly 25 years as GET. GET is a prepaid tuition program, where you purchase tuition units at today’s price, and those units can be used years down the road, no matter what type of education your student chooses to pursue or how costs change in the future. With tuition rates rising over time, locking in current rates now offers predictability and certainty for you and your student.

The other option we offer Washington families is the DreamAhead plan
. This plan offers a selection of investment portfolios that you can tailor to your student’s age and your risk tolerance. You can start an account with a contribution as small as $25. From there, your investment has the opportunity to grow through interest and appreciation. Once you’re ready to use it, the money can be applied to almost any education-related expense.

However you choose to save, keep in mind that a contribution to a student’s 529 plan makes a great gift suggestion to doting family members and friends.

We hope you consider a 529 as part of this year’s gift-giving. A contribution to an education savings account is a gift that will keep on giving for years and years to come. Visit 529.wa.gov to learn more.
Michael Meotti is the Executive Director of Washington Student Achievement Council, a state agency committed to increasing educational opportunities and attainment in Washington.


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