This year’s increase in the purchase price of Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) units apparently hasn’t dampened interest in the program among Washington families looking for a way to save for college.
Since the latest GET enrollment year started Nov. 1, the program has seen 1,325 new accounts opened. That is a rate slightly above the one set over the same length of time two years ago, which was a record year for the program, GET Director Betty Lochner told the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee this week.
Although the current enrollment year will be two weeks longer than past years, it isn’t clear whether the program will remain on pace to set a new record for total enrollments. However, the rate of signups since Nov. 1 suggests that families still believe the GET program provides a sound investment.
“That’s telling us people are saying tuition is going to go up even more, so we need to buy this year,” Lochner said.
One of the big questions for the GET program was whether the sizable increase in the GET unit price—from $117 last year to $163 this year—would discourage some families from opening new accounts. So far, that has not been the case. The pattern suggests that families are betting that college tuition—and the GET unit price—will continue to rise in the future.
One hundred GET units purchased at today’s price guarantees one year of resident undergraduate tuition and required state fees at the highest-priced Washington public university (either the UW or WSU), no matter how much tuition rises in the meantime.
Lochner said most of the GET unit price increase this year was accounted for by rising tuition costs. The remainder adjusted for investment volatility and other factors.So far this year, more families are signing up to make monthly payments toward a fixed number of GET units, rather than pay a lump sum, Lochner said. If this year follows the pattern of previous years, more lump sum payments can be expected as the current year winds to a close on May 31.