WA529 Scholarship Accounts
Scholarships and Children’s Savings Accounts (CSA) are important ways of providing financial support to students pursuing higher education or career training now or in the future. The State offers Washington-based non-profits and government entities a unique opportunity to offer scholarships and CSAs through its 529 college savings plans: GET and DreamAhead. Connecting your new or existing scholarship or CSA program to one of our college savings plans can greatly aid organizations who want to focus on determining award amounts, creating eligibility requirements, and making awards to students while leaving the back-end recordkeeping and reporting to the State.
Scholarship Account Options
Organizations who want to establish a scholarship or CSA account through WA529 have two options:
Get Program Master Scholarship Award
GET is Washington’s original 529 plan and is known as a 529 prepaid tuition program. Organizations that choose to run their scholarship through GET have access to a robust set of tools that provide various options for structuring scholarship or CSA programs. Our custom GET Scholarship platform is an ideal solution for organizations wanting a more turnkey scholarship program that requires less internal administration. Learn more about the GET program below.
DreamAhead Scholarship Account
Organizations can also set up scholarship accounts for students through DreamAhead, which is the State’s 529 investment plan. DreamAhead scholarship accounts can work well for entities who already have a robust scholarship program with significant internal administration support and want to offer scholarships in the form of college savings accounts. Learn more by reviewing the DreamAhead Entity Enrollment Form and the last section of this page.
More on GET Master Scholarship Accounts
A GET Program Master Scholarship Account (MSA) is an account established by a State or local government unit (entity or agency) or a non-profit organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the code, that is registered or licensed to operate in the State of Washington. The purpose of the MSA is for an organization serving a variety of communities to purchase GET tuition units for the purpose of awarding funds as a Traditional Scholarship Program (TSP) or Children’s Savings Account (CSA). The information below will help guide you through the process of establishing a Master Scholarship Account.
Open a GET Master Scholarship Account
You can establish a GET MSA online (coming soon) or by completing the Master Scholarship Account Set-Up form. You will be asked to name an Authorized Representative who will be responsible for managing the account on behalf of your organization. Once established, your account details can be accessed online by this designated Authorized Representative. This individual can be changed in the future if necessary (see ‘Manage Your Master Scholarship Account’ section below).
Before opening the account, be sure to review the Master Scholarship Policy. You do not need to name any students at the time you open your MSA. A student will be named when the MSA is ready to award a scholarship.
Number and Size of the Accounts
Your organization can open any number of MSAs, subject to the approval of the WA529 Director. No more than 800 units may be redeemed by any student. If a student is a beneficiary of another GET Account, the aggregate of the accounts cannot exceed 800 GET units. (Learn how GET units work).
Add Funds to Your Master Scholarship Account
For an initial payment, you can send a check with your completed Master Scholarship Account Set-Up Form. At any time after your account is established you may purchase additional units later, at the unit price in effect at the time the purchase is made. You can make additional payments by setting-up automatic bank withdrawals (ACH), or by mailing us a check along with a payment coupon (coupons will be provided to the Authorized Representative named on the account).
Award Scholarships to Students
When the time comes to award scholarships to your selected student(s), the MSAs Authorized Representative or their designee, can award a scholarship from one of four award types:
- Managed Award: The Organization retains control of the funds throughout the life of the award. Funds can be earmarked for individual students but remain within the MSA until the final distribution for the student.
- Transfer Award: The Organization wants to award funds to the student via an ownership transfer immediately. The Organization has no control of the funds once awarded and accepted by a student.
- Future Transfer Award: The Organization wants to award funds to the student via an ownership transfer at a future date. The Organization has full control of the funds until the future transfer date and funds are awarded to and accepted by a student.
- Reimbursement Award: The Organization retains control of the funds throughout the life of the award. The MSA receives a reimbursement check for qualified expenses paid out of pocket for a student.
The MSAs Authorized Representative can award up to 800 units to each scholarship recipient. If a selected student is named as the beneficiary on other GET accounts, the aggregate of the accounts cannot exceed 800 GET units. All funds from purchased GET units must be held for a minimum of two calendar years prior to any usage of the funds.
Manage Your Master Scholarship Account
The Authorized Representative named on your MSA or their designee will have full control over managing your Master Scholarship Account, and allocating funds unless the award type specifies otherwise.
Account Fees and Refunds
There are no enrollment fees or transfer fees associated with an MSA. However, a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee may be assessed if a payment is not honored by the financial institution from which the funds were drawn.
Refunds from the MSA may be subject to federal income tax on the earnings portion of the refund. Review the GET Refund and Cancellation Policy for details. Non-qualified refunds may also be subject to the Distribution Tax and any applicable state tax.
DreamAhead Scholarship Accounts
A non-profit organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the code, that is registered or licensed to operate in the State of Washington may also establish a DreamAhead General Scholarship Account and will not be required to name a beneficiary at the time of enrollment. Corporations and other entities will not have online access and can select the DreamAhead Entity Enrollment Form to setup an account, and other paper forms to perform other transactions.
For More Information
To learn more about Master Scholarship Accounts, contact the Associate Director for Community Engagement at WA529Outreach@wsac.wa.gov or 360.485.1198, or call the GET Contact Center at 800.955.2318.