GET unit payout value
GET works on a unit system, with 100 GET units equal to one year of resident, undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at Washington’s most expensive public university. Currently, the highest annual tuition and state-mandated fees at a public university in our state is $12,016 (at the University of Washington-Tacoma), meaning that the current payout value for one GET unit is $120.16 (or 1/100th).
Choosing GET means that your account value is not based on stock market performance. That’s what makes GET different from other savings plans. GET guarantees that when you buy a certain amount of tuition, you will have that same amount of tuition covered in the future, no matter how much the cost changes over time. By state law, this guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the state of Washington. That means if GET ever needs to pay out more money than it has available, the Legislature must cover the shortfall.
Buying GET units
Start a GET account with as little as $25 and buy up to 800 units per student. You can add units all at once, over time as you have money available, through monthly payments, or through a combination of approaches. Annually, the WA529 Committee sets the unit purchase price informed by an actuarial formula that considers the expected cost of future tuition, administrative costs, and a stabilization reserve. Read page 24 of the GET Program Details Booklet for more details on how the Committee sets the unit price.
How GET operates
As a GET customer, while you are protected by the state guarantee, you can take comfort in knowing that GET carefully manages your contributions to ensure the program is self-sustaining. The WA529 Committee works closely with the Office of the State Actuary to appropriately price units and with the Washington State Investment Board to invest GET contributions responsibly. GET does not expect to ever need state assistance, but your account is protected by state law no matter what happens.
While your GET account is guaranteed to keep pace with tuition and is protected from stock market risk, GET does not guarantee that you will make money. Here are some points to consider before choosing GET for your college savings:
- While this year’s GET unit purchase price is the same as this year’s unit payout value, in any given year the GET unit price can be more than that year’s payout value. This is why many GET customers open accounts for students who are grade-school age or younger. To help ensure future GET unit purchase prices remain affordable, in 2021, the Legislature enacted a new law that limits the annual GET unit purchase price to no more than 10% above that year’s payout value.
- History suggests that tuition will keep increasing over the long-term, but it may not increase every year. For example, tuition prices fell at our state’s public colleges and universities in the 2015-2016 and 2016- 2017 academic years. Since GET did not anticipate tuition dropping, the Legislature gave GET a one-time authorization to keep customer accounts from going down in tuition value. However, potential future tuition decreases could cause GET units to lose monetary value.
Your GET account is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state public tuition prices
Because the GET payout value is directly related to in-state public tuition, your account will keep pace with long term tuition inflation.
Learn More at the links below.