Sep 28, 2015 Big Changes to Washington’s GET Program

Earlier this month, changes were made to the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. The changes were in response to the recent reduction in tuition for Washington’s public colleges and universities. Tuition will be reduced at UW & WSU by 15% over the next two academic years.

In addition, beginning in 2017-18, resident undergraduate tuition will not be allowed to grow by more than the state’s average annual growth rate in the median hourly wage as determined by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These changes are important because GET’s payouts are based on tuition at UW & WSU. The drop in tuition has reduced the payout value for GET units to $117.82, meaning those who remain in the program may not recover all of their initial purchase price. Should a student decide to attend school at a private or out-of-state school when they reach college age, GET units may not provide the purchasing power once anticipated.

What does this mean for you?

In response, the GET program has provided the following three options for your existing units:

  1. The current payout value of the GET program will now be $117.82 per unit. If you choose to remain in the program, you will receive this payout value.
  2. If you wish to move your GET funds into a different 529 plans, including a 529 savings plan, the GET program will waive all state program refund fees and the two-year hold requirement.
  3. If you wish to cash out your GET funds, you will receive a refund of your contributions or the payout value, whichever is greater. Be aware that this option may have tax consequences. In addition to the changes above, customers who purchased units between 5/1/2011 and 6/30/2015 will be due a refund of the amortization fee originally paid when units were purchased. Moving forward, this amortization fee will not be charged to new units purchased. You will not need to take any action to redeem your refund. Customers should expect to receive these refunds by December.

The deadline to exercise options 2 or 3 is December 1, 2016, however the Washington State Institute for Public Policy is currently conducting a study to look at growth factors moving forward. This report will be available by December 1st, 2015 so you may wish to wait until this deadline in case there are more favorable options presented.

The table below gives the refund amount per unit you should expect:

Year Unit Purchased

Refund Amount Per Unit
5/1/11 – 6/30/12


7/1/12 – 6/30/13 $19.73
7/1/13 – 6/30/14 $20.82
7/1/14 – 6/30/15


We recommend waiting to take any action until after the December 1st, 2015 meeting, in the event more favorable options are presented. We encourage you to review your individual situation and meet with your financial advisor if you’d like to discuss your options.

Here are the links to the  GET Refund Cancellation Policy and Refund Form.


Please note: prior to investing in a 529 plan investors should consider whether the investor’s or designated beneficiaries home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.


Company News

Welcome, Liz Stokes!

Employee Spotlight – Jacqueline Cremen

Shreds and Meds Day – October 28th at The Valley Mall

Employee Spotlight: Chelsie Smith

Employee Spotlight: Dirk Bernd

Market Commentary

2024 1st Quarter Investment Commentary

2023 4th Quarter Investment Commentary

2023 3rd Quarter Investment Commentary

2023 2nd Quarter Investment Commentary

Debt Ceiling: Should Investors Worry?

Retirement Planning

2024 Key Financial Changes

Social Security Benefit Increase of 3.2% for 2024

The 4 Changes from SECURE Act 2.0 You Should Know for 2023

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2023 Begins October 15th

Social Security Benefit Increase of 8.7% for 2023

Tax Planning

2024 Key Financial Changes

2023 1099 Release Information

2023 Year-End Tax Planning

When do I start my Required Minimum Distribution?

UPDATE: Washington State Long Term Care Payroll Tax

Cyber Security

Red Flags When Transferring Money

Cybersecurity 101 – 2022 Update

Cybersecurity 101

New Changes to Web-Portal Password Requirements

Equifax Data Breach Update: Make a claim today

Important Disclosures

Leonard Rickey Investment Advisors, PLLC (“LRIA”), is an SEC registered investment adviser located in the State of Washington. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. For information pertaining to the registration status of LRIA, please contact LRIA or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (

This is provided for general information only and contains information that is not suitable for everyone. As such, nothing herein should be construed as the provision of specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed herein will come to pass. This newsletter contains information derived from third party sources. Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party incorporated herein and take no responsibility therefore.

Any projections, forecasts and estimates, including without limitation any statement using “expect” or “believe” or any variation of either term or a similar term, contained here are forward-looking statements and are based upon certain current assumptions, beliefs and expectations that LRIA considers reasonable or that the applicable third parties have identified as such. Forward-looking statements are necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions or beliefs underlying the forward-looking statements will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results or outcomes. Some important factors that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those in any forward-looking statements include, among others, changes in interest rates and general economic conditions in the U.S. and globally, changes in the liquidity available in the market, change and volatility in the value of the U.S. dollar, market volatility and distressed credit markets, and other market, financial or legal uncertainties. Consequently, the inclusion of forward-looking statements herein should not be regarded as a representation by LRIA or any other person or entity of the outcomes or results that will be achieved by following any recommendations contained herein. While the forward-looking statements here reflect estimates, expectations and beliefs, they are not guarantees of future performance or outcomes. LRIA has no obligation to update or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements, including any revisions to reflect changes in economic conditions or other circumstances arising after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of events (whether anticipated or unanticipated), even if the underlying assumptions do not come to fruition. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice and do not necessarily take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or particular needs of all investors.

For additional information about LRIA, including fees and services, please contact us for our Form ADV disclosure brochure using our contact information herein. Please read the disclosure brochure carefully before you invest or send money.