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Key Terms


A tax–advantaged higher-education savings program designed to help families meet the ever–rising cost of higher education through planning and saving in a variety of investment options and programs.

Account Owner

An individual who is 18 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident who controls the account assets and distributions. The account owner generally may also be a U.S. trust, corporation, partnership, nonprofit organization, custodian, guardian or other entity.


The individual who will benefit from the GET or DreamAhead account. A beneficiary must be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident.


A 529 investment plan introduced by WA529 in 2018. DreamAhead is managed by Vestwell State Savings, LLC and is open year-round. 

Account Owner Survivor

The person named by the Account Owner to assume account ownership in the event of the Account Owner’s death. 


See Withdrawal

Eligible Educational Institution (EEI)

An accredited post-secondary educational institution offering credit toward a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, a graduate level or professional degree or another recognized post-secondary credential. Certain proprietary institutions and post-secondary vocational institutions are also considered to be Eligible Educational Institutions. The institution must be eligible to participate in a student financial aid program under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. Section 1088).

To see if your student's school is an eligible institution, we encourage you to use the Federal School Code Search tool on the FAFSA website (they use the same criteria that we do). 

To look for registered apprenticeship programs, The Department of Labor provides a search tool.


GET is Washington state's 529 prepaid college tuition program. It is governed by federal IRS rules and Washington State law (RCW 28B.95). With GET, you save money by prepaying part or all of your child’s college tuition costs now, to avoid paying higher costs in the future. The State of Washington guarantees that the value of your account will keep pace with the cost of resident undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at the most expensive public university in Washington (typically the University of Washington or Washington State University). Although the value of your account is determined by tuition costs at UW or WSU, you can use your account nationwide at practically any public or private college, university or vocational school, and the monetary value remains the same. 

Learn more about GET in our Program Details Booklet.

Investment Option Change

A change to all or part of an Account Owner's DreamAhead Account holdings to another investment option within DreamAhead (Investment Option Change). IRS regulations permit an investment option change twice per calendar year by an Account Owner for all DreamAhead accounts held for a specific Beneficiary. Also known as an Investment Direction Change.

Member of the Family

As defined by IRC Section 529: a son or daughter, or a descendant of either; a stepson or stepdaughter; a brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister; the father or mother, or an ancestor of either; a stepfather or stepmother; a son or daughter of a brother or sister; a brother or sister of the father or mother; a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law; the spouse of the Beneficiary or the spouse of any individual described above; or a first cousin of the Beneficiary. For purposes of determining who is a Member of the Family, a legally adopted child of an individual shall be treated as the child of such individual by blood. The terms “brother” and “sister” include half-brothers and half-sisters. 

Static Portfolio

Type of DreamAhead portfolio in which the investment mix does not change over time.


An investment option available to a DreamAhead Account Owner. Options include Year-of-enrollment (evolving) or static (non-evolving).

Program Details Booklet

Document containing detailed information on all aspects of the specific WA529 program covered.

Qualified Higher Education Expense (QHEE)

Expenses for which a 529 account may be used, as allowed under IRC Section 529. These are:

  • Tuition (may be for college, graduate-level degrees or private or religious K-12 tuition)
  • Fees
  • Room and board expenses during an academic period in which the Beneficiary is enrolled at least half-time in a degree, certificate or other program that leads to a recognized educational credential awarded by an Eligible Educational Institution
  • Textbooks, supplies and equipment required for enrollment or attendance
  • Computers, peripheral equipment, software and internet service primarily used by the beneficiary
  • Special needs services incurred in connection with enrollment or attendance

Learn more about Qualified Higher Education Expenses.

Qualified Tuition Program

A program established and maintained by a State or agency under which a person may make contributions to an account to meet the Qualified Higher Education Expenses of the designated Beneficiary of the account. WA529 sponsors two programs: GET and DreamAhead.


A tax-free reinvestment of funds from one Qualified Tuition Program to another. Once funds are distributed there is a 60-day time frame in which funds must be deposited into the new Qualified Tuition Program. IRS regulations allow only one Rollover for the same Beneficiary during a rolling 12-month period. 

Year-of-Enrollment Portfolio

Type of DreamAhead portfolio in which the objective of the investment mix aligns with the target beneficiary’s age and adjusts automatically over time to a more conservative investment mix.


The unit by which prepaid tuition is measured by the GET program. One unit = 1/100th of the cost of tuition & state-mandated fees at the most expensive public university in Washington state. 100 units are guaranteed to cover a full year's tuition and fees at the state's highest-priced public institution, no matter how high tuition rises in the future.


Washington's College Savings Plans. An independent agency of Washington, with a mission to help Washington families save for educational expenses and a vision of fostering a well-educated community by helping students and families overcome financial barriers to education and avoid future debt.


A withdrawal from an account.

A Qualified Distribution is a withdrawal of funds for 1) the properly documented Qualified Higher Education Expenses of the designated Beneficiary or 2) a qualified Rollover to another Qualified Tuition Program (529 Plan).

A Non-Qualified Distribution is a withdrawal made for any reason other than the two described above. Withdrawals that are non-qualified distributions will be subject to federal income tax on the earnings, as well as a federal penalty of 10 percent of the earnings, reported on the taxpayer’s federal tax return. Washington taxpayers will need to recapture any deductions they have previously taken on the amount of the withdrawal if it is a non-qualified distribution.

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Questions about your GET or DreamAhead account? Contact Center representatives are available to help by phone, email or video conference.
Please see our Contact Us page for details, hours, and additional information.