School notes for Nov. 8, 2011

College tuition program to offer open enrollment

Washington state’s Gauaranteed Education Tuition program enrollment is open for families looking for a safe and convenient way to save for college.

The new enrollment year runs today through May 31.

More than 135,000 accounts have been opened since the program began in 1998.

Accounts can be used at nearly any public or private college, university, or vocational school in the country. Students have used their accounts at colleges in all 50 states and five foreign countries.

G.E.T. is a 529 plan offering tax-free growth and withdrawals.

It is a self-sustaining program.

The cost of one G.E.T. unit today is $163.

The future value of 100 units is equal to one year of resident, undergraduate tuition and required state fees at the highest-priced Washington public university, no matter how much tuition increases.

Families can buy any amount from 1 to 500 units per student, and the average G.E.T. account holds just under 200 units.

Betty Lochner, director of the G.E.T. program, encourages families to save an amount that fits best within their budget.

“The important part is to get started,” she said. “And then have a plan to contribute regularly over the years. Even smaller amounts will add up over time.”

Visit www.get.wa.gov or call (800) 955-2318 for details.

New Seasons to ‘Bag it Forward'

New Seasons Market, which will open in east Vancouver Wednesday, Nov. 9, has created the “Bag It Forward,” program to benefit local schools. A nickel will go to local schools foundations, including the Camas Educational Foundation, every time a customer uses a reusable bag when shopping at the new store.