GET program facing uncertain future

SPOKANE, Wash. - For 15 years, parents in Washington have been saving for their kid's college education through the guaranteed education tuition program, or GET. It's a popular program that could be on the chopping block.

As the legislature begins a session already behind on the budget, lawmakers are expected to debate the possibility of closing the program. The potential cuts to the program wouldn't affect any parents who have already invested with GET.

Some of those parents are urging lawmakers not to cut a program that many middle class families in the state rely on.


GET program future

"Having the GET program allows you to have an investment in the future," Doug Stephens said.

Stephens and his wife are planning ahead. They have three kids, ages 16, 14 and 11, who all have GET accounts.

"The idea is to pay future bills at today's cost," he explained.

GET is a prepaid tuition option and in the last five years, in-state tuition has nearly doubled. Through GET, parents can pay for college now on GET's current price of $17,200 a year.

"I can sit back and just wait for the future to come and then figure out if I have the money or I can plan today on what today's costs will be," Stephens said.

Some state lawmakers say it's not the government's job to be in the prepared tuition business, while others worry about a possible program deficit. Parents like Leslie Power are urging lawmakers to keep the program intact.

"It gives parents the time to plan and save for college and it gives them a huge financial savings in the end," Power said.

Leslie Power paid for her two kids to go to college through the program.

"I don't know how much I have saved but it was great," she said.

It's a great savings she hopes to pass onto to other young parents preparing for their kid's college, but ultimately it will be up to state legislators, as they balance Washington's budget, to determine whether they will keep or close the program.