Assets shift from GET to DreamAhead

WAshington’s new DreamAhead savings program for education expenses has nearly a billion dollars in it, most of it a result of transfers from accounts in another state plan, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program.

More than a quarter of the accounts in GET were closed this year and the value of units in those accounts transferred to the new program, lawmakers were told recently.

The shift, known as a rollover, came as the state offered incentives to GET participants who were worried about losses in their investments after several years of large tuition raises, followed by a tuition cut then a tuition freeze.

After two years of uncertainty over college programs, the state has gone from one suspended plan to two operating plans.

The state suspended the sale of new GET investment units – equal to a share of the cost of a year’s tuition – from 2015 to 2017 because of uncertainty over the future costs of tuition. During that freeze, the Legislature began talking about a separate investment plan that had been shelved years earlier, in part because GET was working so well.

When DreamAhead opened in June, investors with GET accounts were given a 90-day period to transfer their units into a savings plan account, and in some cases were given additional units to increase the value of the high-priced units bought in recent years as an incentive.

Some 26,600 GET accounts “rolled over” into DreamAhead accounts, with a total value of $875 million. They represent the vast majority of participants in the new savings plan.
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