Families Flood GET Office With Tuition Refund Questions | KUOW News and Information

Families Flood GET Office With Tuition Refund Questions

Sep 8, 2015

Calls have doubled and emails have quadrupled to the people who run GET: the name for the state's pre-paid college savings plan.

That's because last week the plan announced that families can pull their money out without a paying a penalty. Now the question is how many families will actually take their money and leave.

Families might be tempted if they don't think they're getting value for their money – especially if they invested in the last four years.

Paying high prices for units in the plan made sense when tuition in the state was on the rise.

But then the state slashed tuition, which is not great if you’ve been paying in advance at way higher prices.

Betty Lochner, the GET director, says the program might lose families that bought a lot of units in the last four years, if "their children are going to school in the next four to eight years. That’s the group of people that are making decisions about whether they should move out of this program."

A fifth of the accounts in the GET program were started in the last four years. But more accounts than that are in play.

That's because even people who bought units in 2008 still don’t have much to show for their investment.

A family that started to contribute back then is only seven-tenths of a percent ahead today. Compare that to the Dow Jones Industrial Average – up more than 200 percent since the crash that year.

The math still makes sense for many people, Lochner says, because over time,“tuition’s going to go up more than it is.”

Refunds are expected to take weeks. So it will be some time before we know how much money will leave the Washington GET.