Have questions about the federal tax reform that was enacted this past December relating to permissible uses of 529 College Savings Accounts? You are not alone. The sweeping legislation intended to allow payment of tuition at K-12 private schools (including schools with religious orientations) from Section 529 plans. For many states implementing the policy will take time.
According to a useful fact sheet developed by the American Federation for Children, 20 states have yet to determine whether conforming current state law is needed to permit owners of Section 529 accounts to take advantage of the new federal flexibility. Washington State’s GET (Guaranteed Education Tuition) college-savings plan can’t be used for k-12 tuition at this time. GET is set to relaunch this spring after a two-year freeze on new unit sales, prompted by the 2015 state legislature’s decision to decrease resident undergraduate tuition at WA public institutions.
Under GET, families purchase GET units, currently valued at $113, to prepay the cost of tuition. GET account holders are guaranteed that 100 units will cover one year of full-time, undergraduate, resident tuition and fees at Washington’s most expensive public university at any point in the future. GET was required to complete a legislatively mandated study to determine the program’s options moving forward.
The GET program reopened to existing account holders earlier this summer, implementing a “rebase” on all existing accounts which provided customers who held accounts prior to the freeze with additional units to reset values based on the rate for UW tuition.
GET is now available to people who want to start new accounts and those who want to continue buying GET units. GET will also be updating their program opportunities this spring, so it is possible that the new changes in their plans will lead to new laws in WA State for utilizing the federal mandate.
WFIS will report on any changes we learn.