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Lowering Barriers to Education

(March 27, 2024) - There are some real barriers to attending college, and some families are starting to wonder if it’s truly worth the effort. Certainly, life is not one-size-fits-all, and a degree is not a prerequisite for a good life. But higher education bestows some very clear advantages, and everyone who wants an education should be able to pursue it. Fortunately, there are many tools to help lower the barriers to a college education.

How Will My 529 Plan Affect My Financial Aid?

(Updated February 9, 2024) - Families often wonder how 529 plans affect financial aid and how the two work together. The answer depends on a couple of key questions: who owns the plan and when withdrawals are taken. In most cases, your 529 plan will have a minimal effect on the amount of aid you receive and will actually end up helping you more than hurting you.

Job Ready Graduates

(February 6, 2024) - Why 529 College Savings Plans are Perfect for Technical and Vocational Pathways
The landscape of higher education is constantly evolving and has even more so in the past few years as students began suddenly learning, studying, and networking from behind the screen. Recognizing that learning can happen from anywhere, at any time, and in a variety of ways is the foundation for increasing access to higher education. 

SECURE 2.0 and Your 529 Account

(UPDATED December 28, 2023) - In December of 2022, the federal government enacted SECURE 2.0 of 2022, which delivers dozens of retirement-related provisions. Among them is the ability to make tax- and penalty-free rollovers from your 529 plan into a Roth IRA. You may take advantage of the Roth rollover provision with your WA529 GET or DreamAhead account as of January 1, 2024.

Holiday Gifting with the Future in Mind

(December 12, 2023) - As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even as a family friend, sometimes it is so hard to find a unique, meaningful gift for children in our lives. Toys, games, clothes, and candy make great traditional gift options, but giving the gift of higher education savings is also a meaningful gift option that many people don’t think about. Gift contributions to a 529 education savings account will have a positive impact on a child’s future that will last a lifetime.

College Savings Month Encompasses Much More Than It Sounds

(September 6, 2023) - It’s September - National College Savings Month! While the word ‘college’ is in the title, it’s really about much more than that. It is when we officially recognize the importance of saving for post-high school education and training, including trade schools, technical training, and apprenticeships. Let’s face it. The cost of college and other career-readiness training is high and getting more so each year. National College Savings Month is a great reminder for families to put money away for their student’s future education expenses.

Keep Your College Savings Cooking This Summer

(August 1, 2023) - Ah, summer! While summers as an adult are not nearly as footloose and fancy-free as they were in my childhood, I still love the opportunity to get outside to hike, travel, and experiment with the grill (charbroiled watermelon, anyone?). The only big problem with summer is that I have to constantly remind myself that my responsibilities, including attending to my family’s college savings goals, can’t take a summer break anymore. But where to start when my brain is trying to check out for three months at a time?

Simple Steps to Save

(February 15, 2023) - A few years ago, I bought my forever home. It’s not grand or elaborate by any means, but it is mine and exactly what I need for my retirement and beyond years. Purchasing this home was an exercise in simplicity and predictability because I had to consider what my needs would be when I’m 20+ years down the road and not what my life looks like at this specific time. With retirement savings in place and an adequate nest egg for emergencies and fun money, I knew I still had more savings goals to meet. 

Don't Fall For These Common Financial Aid Myths

(Updated February 9, 2024) - Do you think you can’t afford college or training? Financial aid helps many students pay for education beyond high school, and more families in Washington are now eligible. You might qualify now even if you didn’t before!

Myth #1: Financial aid only pays for four-year universities, not career or technical schools.