Chapter 28B.95 RCW

WASHINGTON ADVANCED COLLEGE TUITION PAYMENT PROGRAM AND WASHINGTON COLLEGE SAVINGS PROGRAM

(
Formerly: Advanced college tuition payment program
)

Sections

28B.95.010Washington advanced college tuition payment programWashington college savings programEstablished.
28B.95.020Definitions.
28B.95.025Offices and personnel.
28B.95.030Washington advanced college tuition payment program.
28B.95.032Washington college savings program.
28B.95.035Committee membersLiability.
28B.95.040Purchase of tuition units or establishment of savings plans by organizationsRulesScholarship fund.
28B.95.045Rollover or investment change of 529 accounts to state-sponsored plans or eligible 529 plansReport.
28B.95.050Contractual obligationLegally bindingUse of state appropriations.
28B.95.060Washington advanced college tuition payment program account.
28B.95.070Washington advanced college tuition payment program accountPowers and duties of the investment board.
28B.95.080Washington advanced college tuition payment program accountActuarial soundnessAdjustment of tuition credit purchases.
28B.95.085Washington college savings program accountInitial cash deficit.
28B.95.087Washington college savings programInvestment manager's authorityOwner's investment optionsReportsLegislative review of fees and expensesGoverning body's authority.
28B.95.090Advanced college tuition payment programDiscontinuationUse of unitsRefunds.
28B.95.092Advanced college tuition payment programReopeningReinvigorating the program.
28B.95.100ProgramsPlanningConsultation with public and private entitiesCooperation.
28B.95.110Washington advanced college tuition payment programRefunds.
28B.95.115Washington college savings programRefunds.
28B.95.120Tuition units exempt from bankruptcy and enforcement of judgments.
28B.95.125Washington college savings program account depositsEffect of bankruptcy filings and enforcement of judgments.
28B.95.150College savings programAuthorization and parameters.
28B.95.160GET ready for math and science scholarship programTuition unitsOwnership and redemption.
28B.95.170Legislative advisory committee.
28B.95.900Construction of chapterLimitations.


Washington advanced college tuition payment programWashington college savings programEstablished.

(1) The Washington advanced college tuition payment program is established to help make higher education affordable and accessible to all citizens of the state of Washington by offering a savings incentive that will protect purchasers and beneficiaries against rising tuition costs.
(2) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the Washington college savings program is established to provide an additional financial option for individuals, organizations, and families to save for college.
(3) These programs are designed to encourage savings and enhance the ability of Washington citizens to obtain financial access to institutions of higher education. In addition, the programs encourage elementary and secondary school students to do well in school as a means of preparing for and aspiring to higher education attendance. These programs are intended to promote a well-educated and financially secure population to the ultimate benefit of all citizens of the state of Washington.



Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Academic year" means the regular nine-month, three-quarter, or two-semester period annually occurring between August 1st and July 31st.
(2) "Account" means the Washington advanced college tuition payment program account established for the deposit of all money received by the office from eligible purchasers and interest earnings on investments of funds in the account, as well as for all expenditures on behalf of eligible beneficiaries for the redemption of tuition units and for the development of any authorized college savings program pursuant to RCW 28B.95.150.
(3) "Advisor sold" means a channel through which a broker dealer, investment advisor, or other financial intermediary recommends the Washington college savings program established pursuant to RCW 28B.95.010 to eligible investors and assists with the opening and servicing of individual college savings program accounts.
(4) "College savings program account" means the Washington college savings program account established pursuant to RCW 28B.95.085.
(5) "Committee on advanced tuition payment and college savings" or "committee" means a committee of the following members: The state treasurer, the director of the office of financial management, the director of the office, or their designees, and two members to be appointed by the governor, one representing program participants and one private business representative with marketing, public relations, or financial expertise.
(6) "Contractual obligation" means a legally binding contract of the state with the purchaser and the beneficiary establishing that purchases of tuition units in the advanced college tuition payment program will be worth the same number of tuition units at the time of redemption as they were worth at the time of the purchase, except as provided in RCW 28B.95.030 (7) and (8).
(7) "Dual credit fees" means any fees charged to a student for participation in college in the high school under RCW 28A.600.290 or running start under RCW 28A.600.310.
(8) "Eligible beneficiary" means the person designated as the individual whose education expenses are to be paid from the advanced college tuition payment program or the college savings program. Qualified organizations, as allowed under section 529 of the federal internal revenue code, purchasing tuition unit contracts as future scholarships need not designate a beneficiary at the time of purchase.
(9) "Eligible contributor" means an individual or organization that contributes money for the purchase of tuition units, and for an individual college savings program account established pursuant to this chapter for an eligible beneficiary.
(10) "Eligible purchaser" means an individual or organization that has entered into a tuition unit contract with the governing body for the purchase of tuition units in the advanced college tuition payment program for an eligible beneficiary, or that has entered into a participant college savings program account contract for an eligible beneficiary. The state of Washington may be an eligible purchaser for purposes of purchasing tuition units to be held for granting Washington college bound scholarships.
(11) "Full-time tuition charges" means resident tuition charges at a state institution of higher education for enrollments between ten credits and eighteen credit hours per academic term.
(12) "Governing body" means the committee empowered by the legislature to administer the Washington advanced college tuition payment program and the Washington college savings program.
(13) "Individual college savings program account" means the formal record of transactions relating to a Washington college savings program beneficiary.
(14) "Institution of higher education" means an institution that offers education beyond the secondary level and is recognized by the internal revenue service under chapter 529 of the internal revenue code.
(15) "Investment board" means the state investment board as defined in chapter 43.33A RCW.
(16) "Investment manager" means the state investment board, another state, or any other entity as selected by the governing body, including another college savings plan established pursuant to section 529 of the internal revenue code.
(17) "Office" means the office of student financial assistance as defined in chapter 28B.76 RCW.
(18) "Owner" means the eligible purchaser or the purchaser's successor in interest who shall have the exclusive authority to make decisions with respect to the tuition unit contract or the individual college savings program contract. The owner has exclusive authority and responsibility to establish and change the asset investment options for a beneficiaries' individual college savings program account.
(19) "Participant college savings program account contract" means a contract to participate in the Washington college savings program between an eligible purchaser and the office.
(20) "State institution of higher education" means institutions of higher education as defined in RCW 28B.10.016.
(21) "Tuition and fees" means undergraduate tuition and services and activities fees as defined in RCW 28B.15.020 and 28B.15.041 rounded to the nearest whole dollar. For purposes of this chapter, services and activities fees do not include fees charged for the payment of bonds heretofore or hereafter issued for, or other indebtedness incurred to pay, all or part of the cost of acquiring, constructing, or installing any lands, buildings, or facilities.
(22) "Tuition unit contract" means a contract between an eligible purchaser and the governing body, or a successor agency appointed for administration of this chapter, for the purchase of tuition units in the advanced college tuition payment program for a specified beneficiary that may be redeemed at a later date for an equal number of tuition units, except as provided in RCW 28B.95.030 (7) and (8).
(23) "Unit cash value price" means the total value of assets under management in the advanced college tuition payment program on a date to be determined by the committee, divided by the total number of outstanding units purchased by eligible purchasers before July 1, 2015, and any outstanding units accrued by eligible purchasers as a result of the July 2017 unit rebase. For purposes of this calculation, the total market value of assets shall exclude the total accumulated market value of proceeds from units purchased after June 30, 2015.
(24) "Unit purchase price" means the minimum cost to purchase one tuition unit in the advanced college tuition payment program for an eligible beneficiary. Generally, the minimum purchase price is one percent of the undergraduate tuition and fees for the current year, rounded to the nearest whole dollar, adjusted for the costs of administration and adjusted to ensure the actuarial soundness of the account. The analysis for price setting shall also include, but not be limited to consideration of past and projected patterns of tuition increases, program liability, past and projected investment returns, and the need for a prudent stabilization reserve.

NOTES:

Effective date2018 c 188: See note following RCW 28B.95.030.
Short title2015 3rd sp.s. c 36: See note following RCW 28B.15.031.
FindingsIntent2015 c 202: See note following RCW 28A.320.196.
Effective date2012 c 229 §§ 101, 117, 401, 402, 501 through 594, 601 through 609, 701 through 708, 801 through 821, 902, and 904: See note following RCW 28B.77.005.
Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Intent2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Part headings not law2004 c 275: See note following RCW 28B.76.090.



Offices and personnel.

The office shall maintain appropriate offices and employ and fix compensation of such personnel as may be necessary to perform the advanced college tuition payment program and the Washington college savings program duties. The office shall consult with the governing body on the selection, compensation, and other issues relating to the employment of the program director. The positions are exempt from classified service under chapter 41.06 RCW. The employees shall be employees of the office.

NOTES:

Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Intent2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Effective date1998 c 69: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 20, 1998]." [ 1998 c 69 § 6.]



Washington advanced college tuition payment program.

(1) The Washington advanced college tuition payment program shall be administered by the committee on advanced tuition payment which shall be chaired by the director of the office. The committee shall be supported by staff of the office.
(2)(a) The Washington advanced college tuition payment program shall consist of the sale of tuition units, which may be redeemed by the beneficiary at a future date for an equal number of tuition units regardless of any increase in the price of tuition, that may have occurred in the interval, except as provided in subsections (7) and (8) of this section.
(b) Each purchase shall be worth a specific number of or fraction of tuition units at each state institution of higher education as determined by the governing body, except as provided in subsections (7) and (8) of this section.
(c) The number of tuition units necessary to pay for a full year's, full-time undergraduate tuition and fee charges at a state institution of higher education shall be set by the governing body at the time a purchaser enters into a tuition unit contract, except as provided in subsections (7) and (8) of this section.
(d) The governing body may limit the number of tuition units purchased by any one purchaser or on behalf of any one beneficiary, however, no limit may be imposed that is less than that necessary to achieve four years of full-time, undergraduate tuition charges at a state institution of higher education. The governing body also may, at its discretion, limit the number of participants, if needed, to ensure the actuarial soundness and integrity of the program.
(e) While the Washington advanced college tuition payment program is designed to help all citizens of the state of Washington, the governing body may determine residency requirements for eligible purchasers and eligible beneficiaries to ensure the actuarial soundness and integrity of the program.
(3)(a) No tuition unit may be redeemed until two years after the purchase of the unit.
(b) Units may be redeemed for enrollment at any institution of higher education that is recognized by the internal revenue service under chapter 529 of the internal revenue code. Units may also be redeemed to pay for dual credit fees.
(c) Units redeemed at a nonstate institution of higher education or for graduate enrollment shall be redeemed at the rate for state public institutions in effect at the time of redemption.
(4) The governing body shall determine the conditions under which the tuition benefit may be transferred to another family member. In permitting such transfers, the governing body may not allow the tuition benefit to be bought, sold, bartered, or otherwise exchanged for goods and services by either the beneficiary or the purchaser.
(5) The governing body shall administer the Washington advanced college tuition payment program in a manner reasonably designed to be actuarially sound, such that the assets of the trust will be sufficient to defray the obligations of the trust including the costs of administration. The governing body may, at its discretion, discount the minimum purchase price for certain kinds of purchases such as those from families with young children, as long as the actuarial soundness of the account is not jeopardized.
(6) The governing body shall annually determine current value of a tuition unit.
(7) For the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years only, the governing body shall set the payout value for units redeemed during that academic year only at one hundred seventeen dollars and eighty-two cents per unit. For academic years after the 2016-17 academic year, the governing body shall make program adjustments it deems necessary and appropriate to ensure that the total payout value of each account on October 9, 2015, is not decreased or diluted as a result of the initial application of any changes in tuition under section 3, chapter 36, Laws of 2015 3rd sp. sess. In the event the committee or governing body provides additional units under chapter 36, Laws of 2015 3rd sp. sess., the committee and governing body shall also increase the maximum number of units that can be redeemed in any year to mitigate the reduction in available account value during any year as a result of chapter 36, Laws of 2015 3rd sp. sess. The governing body must notify holders of tuition units after the adjustment in this subsection is made and must include a statement concerning the adjustment.
(8) The governing body shall allow account owners who purchased units before July 1, 2015, to redeem such units at the unit cash value price provided that all the redeemed funds are deposited immediately into an eligible Washington college savings program account established by the governing body. Within ninety days of April 15, 2018, the committee, in consultation with the state actuary and state investment board, shall:
(a) Establish a period that is not less than ninety days during which eligible purchasers may redeem units at the unit cash value price for the purposes of this subsection and provide at least thirty days' notice prior to the ninety-day window to all eligible account holders about the redemption option; and
(b) Establish the unit cash value price. The committee, in consultation with the state actuary and the state investment board, may revalue the unit cash value price established in this subsection (8)(b) up to three times during the ninety-day period in which eligible purchasers may redeem units for the unit cash value price.
(9)(a) After the governing body completes the requirements of subsection (8) of this section, the governing body shall adjust, by March 1, 2019, all remaining unredeemed units purchased before July 1, 2015, as follows:
(i) First, the governing body shall take the difference between the average unit purchase price in each individual's account and the 2016-17 unit payout value and increase the number of units in each individual's account by a number of units of equivalent total value at the 2017-18 unit purchase price, if the average unit purchase price is more than the 2016-17 unit payout value; and
(ii) Second, after (a)(i) of this subsection is completed, the governing body, with assistance from the state actuary, shall grant an additional number of units to each account holder with unredeemed and purchased units before July 1, 2015, in order to lower the best-estimate funded status of the program to one hundred twenty-five percent, subject to a limit of an increase of fifteen percent of unredeemed and purchased units per account holder. The state actuary shall select the measurement date, assumptions, and methods necessary to perform an actuarial measurement consistent with the purpose of this subsection.
(b) For the purpose of this subsection (9), and for account holders with uncompleted custom monthly contracts, the governing body shall only include purchased and unredeemed units before July 1, 2015.
(10) The governing body shall collect an amortization fee as a component of each future unit sold whenever the governing body determines amortization fees are necessary to increase the best-estimate funded status of the program.
(11) The governing body shall promote, advertise, and publicize the Washington advanced college tuition payment program. Materials and online publications advertising the Washington advanced college tuition payment program shall include a disclaimer that the Washington advanced college tuition payment program's guarantee is that one hundred tuition units will equal one year of full-time, resident, undergraduate tuition at the most expensive state institution of higher education, and that if resident, undergraduate tuition is reduced, a tuition unit may lose monetary value.
(12) In addition to any other powers conferred by this chapter, the governing body may:
(a) Impose reasonable limits on the number of tuition units or units that may be used in any one year;
(b) Determine and set any time limits, if necessary, for the use of benefits under this chapter;
(c) Impose and collect administrative fees and charges in connection with any transaction under this chapter;
(d) Appoint and use advisory committees and the state actuary as needed to provide program direction and guidance;
(e) Formulate and adopt all other policies and rules necessary for the efficient administration of the program;
(f) Consider the addition of an advanced payment program for room and board contracts and also consider a college savings program;
(g) Purchase insurance from insurers licensed to do business in the state, to provide for coverage against any loss in connection with the account's property, assets, or activities or to further insure the value of the tuition units;
(h) Make, execute, and deliver contracts, conveyances, and other instruments necessary to the exercise and discharge of its powers and duties under this chapter;
(i) Contract for the provision for all or part of the services necessary for the management and operation of the program with other state or nonstate entities authorized to do business in the state;
(j) Contract for other services or for goods needed by the governing body in the conduct of its business under this chapter;
(k) Contract with financial consultants, actuaries, auditors, and other consultants as necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter;
(l) Solicit and accept cash donations and grants from any person, governmental agency, private business, or organization; and
(m) Perform all acts necessary and proper to carry out the duties and responsibilities of this program under this chapter.

NOTES:

Effective date2018 c 188: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect April 15, 2018." [ 2018 c 188 § 4.]
Short title2015 3rd sp.s. c 36: See note following RCW 28B.15.031.
FindingsIntent2015 c 202: See note following RCW 28A.320.196.
Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Intent2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.



Washington college savings program.

(1) The Washington college savings program shall be administered by the committee, which shall be chaired by the director of the office. The committee shall be supported by staff of the office.
(2) The Washington college savings program shall consist of the college savings program account and the individual college savings program accounts, and shall allow an eligible purchaser to establish an individual college savings program account for an eligible beneficiary whereby the money in the account may be invested and used for enrollment at any institution of higher education that is recognized by the internal revenue service under chapter 529 of the internal revenue code. Money in the account may also be used to pay for dual credit fees.
(3) The Washington college savings program is open to eligible purchasers and eligible beneficiaries who are residents or nonresidents of Washington state.
(4) The Washington college savings program shall not require eligible purchasers to make an initial minimum contribution in any amount that exceeds twenty-five dollars when establishing a new account.
(5) The committee may contract with other state or nonstate entities that are authorized to do business in the state for the investment of moneys in the college savings program, including other college savings plans established pursuant to section 529 of the internal revenue code. The investment of eligible contributors' deposits may be in credit unions, savings and loan associations, banks, mutual savings banks, purchase life insurance, shares of an investment company, individual securities, fixed annuity contracts, variable annuity contracts, any insurance company, other 529 plans, or any investment company licensed to contract business in this state.
(6) The governing body shall determine the conditions under which control or the beneficiary of an individual college savings program account may be transferred to another family member. In permitting such transfers, the governing body may not allow the individual college savings program account to be bought, sold, bartered, or otherwise exchanged for goods and services by either the beneficiary or the purchaser.
(7) The governing body shall promote, advertise, and publicize the Washington college savings program.
(8) The governing body shall develop materials to educate potential account owners and beneficiaries on (a) the differences between the advanced college tuition payment program and the Washington college savings program, and (b) how the two programs can complement each other to save towards the full cost of attending college.
(9) In addition to any other powers conferred by this chapter, the governing body may:
(a) Impose limits on the amount of contributions that may be made on behalf of any eligible beneficiary;
(b) Determine and set age limits and any time limits for the use of benefits under this chapter;
(c) Establish incentives to encourage participation in the Washington college savings program to include but not be limited to entering into agreements with any public or private employer under which an employee may agree to have a designated amount deducted in each payroll period from the wages due the employee for the purpose of making contributions to a participant college savings program account;
(d) Impose and collect administrative fees and charges in connection with any transaction under this chapter;
(e) Appoint and use advisory committees and the state actuary as needed to provide program direction and guidance;
(f) Formulate and adopt all other policies and rules necessary for the efficient administration of the program;
(g) Purchase insurance from insurers licensed to do business in the state, to provide for coverage against any loss in connection with the account's property, assets, or activities;
(h) Make, execute, and deliver contracts, conveyances, and other instruments necessary to the exercise and discharge of its powers and duties under this chapter;
(i) Contract for the provision for all or part of the services necessary for the management and operation of the Washington college savings program with other state or nonstate entities authorized to do business in the state for the investment of moneys;
(j) Contract for other services or for goods needed by the governing body in the conduct of its business under this chapter;
(k) Contract with financial consultants, actuaries, auditors, and other consultants as necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter;
(l) Review advisor sold 529 college savings plan programs used by other states to supplement direct-sold channels, provide additional program access and options, increase overall college savings by residents, and if deemed appropriate, establish an advisor sold option for the Washington college savings program;
(m) Solicit and accept gifts, bequests, cash donations, and grants from any person, governmental agency, private business, or organization; and
(n) Perform all acts necessary and proper to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Washington college savings program under this chapter.
(10) It is the intent of the legislature to establish policy goals for the Washington college savings program. The policy goals established under this section are deemed consistent with creating a nationally competitive 529 savings plan. The Washington college savings program should support achievement of these policy goals:
(a) Process: To have an investment manager design a thoughtful, well-diversified glide path for age-based portfolios and offer a robust suite of investment options;
(b) People: To have a well-resourced, talented, and long-tenured investment manager;
(c) Parent: To demonstrate that the committee is a good caretaker of college savers' capital and can manage the plan professionally;
(d) Performance: To demonstrate that the program's options have earned their keep with solid risk-adjusted returns over relevant time periods; and
(e) Price: To demonstrate that the investment options are a good value.
(11) The powers, duties, and functions of the Washington college savings program must be performed in a manner consistent with the policy goals in subsection (10) of this section.
(12) The policy goals in this section are intended to be the basis for establishing detailed and measurable objectives and related performance measures.
(13) It is the intent of the legislature that the committee establish objectives and performance measures for the investment manager to progress toward the attainment of the policy goals in subsection (10) of this section. The committee shall submit objectives and performance measures to the legislature for its review and shall provide an updated report on the objectives and measures before the regular session of the legislature during even-numbered years thereafter.



Committee membersLiability.

No member of the committee is liable for the negligence, default, or failure of any other person or members of the committee to perform the duties of office and no member may be considered or held to be an insurer of the funds or assets of any of the advanced college tuition payment program or any of the Washington college savings program.

NOTES:

Effective date1998 c 69: See note following RCW 28B.95.025.



Purchase of tuition units or establishment of savings plans by organizationsRulesScholarship fund.

The governing body may, at its discretion, allow an organization to purchase tuition units or establish savings plans for future use as scholarships. Such organizations electing to purchase tuition units or establish Washington college savings program accounts for this purpose must enter into a contract with the governing body which, at a minimum, ensures that the scholarship shall be freely given by the purchaser to a scholarship recipient. For such purchases, the purchaser need not name a beneficiary until four months before the date when the tuition units are first expected to be used.
The governing body shall formulate and adopt such rules as are necessary to determine which organizations may qualify to purchase tuition units or establish Washington college savings program accounts for scholarships under this section. The governing body also may consider additional rules for the use of tuition units or Washington college savings program accounts if purchased as scholarships.
The governing body may establish a scholarship fund with moneys from the Washington advanced college tuition payment program account. A scholarship fund established under this authority shall be administered by the office and shall be provided to students who demonstrate financial need. Financial need is not a criterion that any other organization need consider when using tuition units as scholarships. The office also may establish its own corporate-sponsored scholarship fund under this chapter.

NOTES:

Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Intent2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.



Rollover or investment change of 529 accounts to state-sponsored plans or eligible 529 plansReport.

(1) The committee shall create an expedited process by which owners can complete a direct rollover or investment change of a 529 account from a:
(a) State-sponsored prepaid tuition plan to a state-sponsored college savings plan;
(b) State-sponsored college savings plan to a state-sponsored prepaid tuition plan; or
(c) State-sponsored prepaid tuition plan or a state-sponsored college savings plan to an out-of-state eligible 529 plan.
(2) The committee shall report annually to the governor and the appropriate committees of the legislature on (a) the number of accounts that have been rolled into the Washington college savings program from out of state and (b) the number of accounts rolled out of the Washington college savings program to 529 plans into other states.

NOTES:

Effective date2018 c 188: See note following RCW 28B.95.030.



Contractual obligationLegally bindingUse of state appropriations.

The Washington advanced college tuition payment program is an essential state governmental function. Contracts with eligible participants shall be contractual obligations legally binding on the state as set forth in this chapter. If, and only if, the moneys in the account are projected to be insufficient to cover the state's contracted expenses for a given biennium, then the legislature shall appropriate to the account the amount necessary to cover such expenses.
The tuition and fees charged by an eligible institution of higher education to an eligible beneficiary for a current enrollment shall be paid by the account to the extent the beneficiary has remaining unused tuition units for the appropriate school.



Washington advanced college tuition payment program account.

(1) The Washington advanced college tuition payment program account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. The account shall be a discrete nontreasury account retaining its interest earnings in accordance with RCW 43.79A.040.
(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, the governing body shall deposit in the account all money received for the program. The account shall be self-sustaining and consist of payments received from purchasers of tuition units and funds received from other sources, public or private. With the exception of investment and operating costs associated with the investment of money by the investment board paid under RCW 43.33A.160 and 43.84.160, the account shall be credited with all investment income earned by the account. Disbursements from the account are exempt from appropriations and the allotment provisions of chapter 43.88 RCW. Money used for program administration is subject to the allotment of all expenditures. However, an appropriation is not required for such expenditures. Program administration shall include, but not be limited to: The salaries and expenses of the program personnel including lease payments, travel, and goods and services necessary for program operation; contracts for program promotion and advertisement, audits, and account management; and other general costs of conducting the business of the program.
(b) All money received by the program from the office for the GET ready for math and science scholarship program shall be deposited in the GET ready for math and science scholarship account created in RCW 28B.105.110.
(3) The assets of the account may be spent without appropriation for the purpose of making payments to institutions of higher education on behalf of the qualified beneficiaries, making refunds, transfers, or direct payments upon the termination of the Washington advanced college tuition payment program. Disbursements from the account shall be made only on the authorization of the governing body.
(4) With regard to the assets of the account, the state acts in a fiduciary, not ownership, capacity. Therefore the assets of the program are not considered state money, common cash, or revenue to the state.

NOTES:

Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Intent2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Effective date1998 c 69: See note following RCW 28B.95.025.



Washington advanced college tuition payment program accountPowers and duties of the investment board.

(1) The investment board has the full power to invest, reinvest, manage, contract, sell, or exchange investment money in the account. All investment and operating costs associated with the investment of money shall be paid pursuant to RCW 43.33A.160 and 43.84.160. With the exception of these expenses, the earnings from the investment of the money shall be retained by the account.
(2) All investments made by the investment board shall be made with the exercise of that degree of judgment and care pursuant to RCW 43.33A.140 and the investment policy established by the state investment board.
(3) As deemed appropriate by the investment board, money in the account may be commingled for investment with other funds subject to investment by the board.
(4) The authority to establish all policies relating to the account, other than the investment policies as set forth in subsections (1) through (3) of this section, resides with the governing body. With the exception of expenses of the investment board set forth in subsection (1) of this section, disbursements from the account shall be made only on the authorization of the governing body, and money in the account may be spent only for the purposes of the program as specified in this chapter.
(5) The investment board shall routinely consult and communicate with the governing body on the investment policy, earnings of the trust, and related needs of the program.



Washington advanced college tuition payment program accountActuarial soundnessAdjustment of tuition credit purchases.

The governing body shall annually evaluate, and cause to be evaluated by the state actuary, the soundness of the advanced college tuition payment program account and determine the additional assets needed, if any, to defray the obligations of the account. The governing body may, at its discretion, consult with a nationally recognized actuary for periodic assessments of the account.
If funds are determined by the governing body, based on actuarial analysis to be insufficient to ensure the actuarial soundness of the account, the governing body shall adjust the price of subsequent tuition credit purchases to ensure its soundness.
If there are insufficient numbers of new purchases to ensure the actuarial soundness of the account, the governing body shall request such funds from the legislature as are required to ensure the integrity of the program. Funds may be appropriated directly to the account or appropriated under the condition that they be repaid at a later date. The repayment shall be made at such time that the account is again determined to be actuarially sound.



Washington college savings program accountInitial cash deficit.

(1) The Washington college savings program account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. The account shall be a discrete nontreasury account retaining its interest earnings in accordance with RCW 43.79A.040.
(2) The governing body shall deposit in the account all moneys received for the program. The account shall be self-sustaining and consist of payments received for the purposes of college savings for the beneficiary. With the exception of investment and operating costs associated with the investment of money by a nonstate entity or paid under RCW 43.08.190, 43.33A.160, and 43.84.160, the account shall be credited with all investment income earned by the account. Disbursements from the account are exempt from appropriations and the allotment provisions of chapter 43.88 RCW. Money used for program administration is subject to the allotment of all expenditures. However, an appropriation is not required for such expenditures. Program administration includes, but is not limited to: The salaries and expenses of the Washington college savings program personnel including lease payments, travel, and goods and services necessary for program operation; contracts for Washington college savings program promotion and advertisement, audits, and account management; and other general costs of conducting the business of the Washington college savings program.
(3) The account is authorized to maintain a cash deficit in the account for a period no more than five fiscal years to defray its initial program administration costs. By December 31, 2017, the governing body shall establish a program administration spending plan and a fee schedule to discharge any projected cash deficit to the account. The legislature may make appropriations into the account for the purpose of reducing program administration costs.
(4) The assets of the account may be spent without appropriation for the purpose of making payments to institutions of higher education on behalf of the qualified beneficiaries, making refunds, transfers, or direct payments upon the termination of the Washington college savings program. Disbursements from the account shall be made only on the authorization of the governing body.
(5) With regard to the assets of the account, the state acts in a fiduciary, not ownership, capacity. Therefore the assets of the program are not considered state money, common cash, or revenue to the state.



Washington college savings programInvestment manager's authorityOwner's investment optionsReportsLegislative review of fees and expensesGoverning body's authority.

(1) The investment manager has the full power to invest, reinvest, manage, contract, sell, or exchange investment money in the Washington college savings program without limitation as to the amount pursuant to RCW 43.84.150 and 43.33A.140. All investment and operating costs associated with the investment of money must be paid to the investment manager as allowed by RCW 43.33A.160 and 43.84.160. With the exception of these expenses and the administrative costs authorized in RCW 28B.95.032 and 28B.95.085, one hundred percent of all earnings from investments accrue directly to the owner of the individual college savings program account.
(2) The governing body may allow owners to self-direct the investment of moneys in individual college savings program accounts through the selection of investment options. The governing body may provide plans that it deems are in the interests of the owners and beneficiaries.
(a) The investment manager, after consultation with the governing body, shall provide a set of options for owners to choose from for investment of individual college savings program account contributions, including an age-based investment option.
(b) The investment manager has the full authority to invest moneys pursuant to the investment directions of the owner of a self-directed individual college savings program account.
(3) Annually on each December 1st, the committee shall report to the governor and the appropriate committees of the legislature regarding the total fees charged to each investment option offered in the Washington college savings program. It is the intent of the legislature that fees charged to the owner not exceed one-half of one percent for any investment option on an annual basis. Beginning January 1, 2018, fees charged to the owner may not exceed one-half of one percent for any investment option on an annual basis.
(4) In the next succeeding legislative session following receipt of a report required under subsection (3) of this section, the appropriate committees of the legislature shall review the report and consider whether any legislative action is necessary with respect to the investment option with fees that exceed one-half of one percent, including but not limited to consideration of whether any legislative action is necessary with respect to reducing the fees and expenses associated with the underlying investment option. With the exception of fees associated with the administration of the program authorized in RCW 28B.95.032 and 28B.95.085, all moneys in the college savings program account, all property and rights purchased with the account, and all income attributable to the account, shall be held in trust for the exclusive benefit of the owners and their eligible beneficiaries.
(5) All investments made by the investment manager shall be made with the exercise of that degree of judgment and care expressed in chapter 43.33A RCW.
(6) As deemed appropriate by the investment manager, money in the Washington college savings program account may be commingled for investment with other funds subject to investment by the investment manager.
(7) The authority to establish all policies relating to the Washington college savings program and the Washington college savings program account, other than investment policies resides with the governing body. With the exception of expenses of the investment manager as provided in subsection (1) of this section, disbursements from the Washington college savings program account shall be made only on the authorization of the governing body or its designee, and moneys in the account may be spent only for the purposes of the Washington college savings program as specified in this chapter.
(8) The investment manager shall routinely consult and communicate with the governing body on the investment policy, earnings of the trust, and related needs of the Washington college savings program.



Advanced college tuition payment programDiscontinuationUse of unitsRefunds.

(1) In the event that the legislature determines that the advanced college tuition payment program is not financially feasible, or for any other reason, the legislature may declare the discontinuance of the program. At the time of such declaration, the governing body will cease to accept any further tuition unit contracts or purchases.
(2) The remaining tuition units for all beneficiaries who have either enrolled in higher education or who are within four years of graduation from a secondary school shall be honored until such tuition units have been exhausted, or for ten fiscal years from the date that the program has been discontinued, whichever comes first. All other contract holders shall receive a refund equal to the value of the current tuition units in effect at the time that the program was declared discontinued.
(3) At the end of the ten-year period, any tuition units remaining unused by currently active beneficiaries enrolled in higher education shall be refunded at the value of the current tuition unit in effect at the end of that ten-year period.
(4) At the end of the ten-year period, all other funds remaining in the account not needed to make refunds or to pay for administrative costs shall be deposited to the state general fund.
(5) The governing body may make refunds under other exceptional circumstances as it deems fit, however, no tuition units may be honored after the end of the tenth fiscal year following the declaration of discontinuance of the program.



Advanced college tuition payment programReopeningReinvigorating the program.

The governing body shall begin and continue to accept applications for new tuition unit contracts and authorize the sale of new tuition units by July 1, 2018. Upon reopening the advanced college tuition payment program, in any year in which the total annual sale of tuition units is below five hundred thousand, the governing body shall determine how to reinvigorate the advanced college tuition payment program to incentivize Washingtonians to enter into tuition unit contracts and purchase tuition units.

NOTES:

Effective date2017 3rd sp.s. c 1: See note following RCW 43.41.455.



ProgramsPlanningConsultation with public and private entitiesCooperation.

(1) The governing body, in planning and devising the advanced college tuition payment program and the Washington college savings program, shall consult with the investment board, the state treasurer, the office of financial management, and the institutions of higher education.
(2) The governing body may seek the assistance of the state agencies named in subsection (1) of this section, private financial institutions, and any other qualified party with experience in the areas of accounting, actuary, risk management, or investment management to assist with preparing an accounting of the programs and ensuring the fiscal soundness of the advanced college tuition payment program account and the Washington college savings program account.
(3) State agencies and public institutions of higher education shall fully cooperate with the governing body in matters relating to the programs in order to ensure the solvency of the advanced college tuition payment [program] account and the Washington college savings program account and ability of the governing body to meet outstanding commitments.



Washington advanced college tuition payment programRefunds.

(1) The intent of the Washington advanced college tuition payment program is to redeem tuition units for attendance at an institution of higher education. Refunds shall be issued under specific conditions that may include the following:
(a) Certification that the beneficiary, who is eighteen years of age or older, will not attend an institution of higher education, will result in a refund not to exceed the current value, as determined by the governing body, in effect at the time of such certification minus a penalty at the rate established by the governing body. The refund shall be made no sooner than ninety days after such certification, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body;
(b) If there is certification of the death or disability of the beneficiary, the refund shall be equal to one hundred percent of any remaining unused tuition units at the current value, as determined by the governing body, at the time that such certification is submitted to the governing body, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body;
(c) If there is certification by the student of graduation or program completion, the refund shall be as great as one hundred percent of any remaining unused tuition units at the current value, as determined by the governing body, at the time that such certification is submitted to the governing body, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body. The governing body may, at its discretion, impose a penalty if needed to comply with federal tax rules;
(d) If there is certification of other tuition and fee scholarships, which will cover the cost of tuition for the eligible beneficiary. The refund shall be equal to one hundred percent of the current value of tuition units, as determined by the governing body, in effect at the time of the refund request, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body. The refund under this subsection may not exceed the value of the scholarship;
(e) Incorrect or misleading information provided by the purchaser or beneficiaries may result in a refund of the purchaser's investment, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body. The value of the refund will not exceed the actual dollar value of the purchaser's contributions; and
(f) The governing body may determine other circumstances qualifying for refunds of remaining unused tuition units and may determine the value of that refund.
(2) With the exception of subsection (1)(b), (e), and (f) of this section no refunds may be made before the units have been held for two years.

NOTES:

Effective date2001 c 184 § 3: "Section 3 of this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect July 1, 2001." [ 2001 c 184 § 5.]



Washington college savings programRefunds.

The intent of the Washington college savings program is to make distributions from individual college savings program accounts for beneficiaries' attendance at public or private institutions of higher education. Federal penalties and taxes associated with 529 savings plan refunds may apply to any refund issued by the Washington college savings plan. Refunds shall be issued under specific conditions that may include the following:
(1) Certification that the beneficiary, who is eighteen years of age or older, will not attend a public or private institution of higher education, will result in a refund not to exceed the current value at the time of such certification. The refund shall be made no sooner than ninety days after such certification, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body;
(2) If there is certification of the death or disability of the beneficiary, the refund shall be equal to one hundred percent of the current value at the time that such certification is submitted to the governing body, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body;
(3) If there is certification by the student of graduation or program completion, the refund shall be as great as one hundred percent of the current value at the time that such certification is submitted to the governing body, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body. The governing body may, at its discretion, impose a penalty if needed to comply with federal tax rules;
(4) If there is certification of other tuition and fee scholarships that will cover the cost of tuition for the eligible beneficiary, the refund may not exceed the value of the scholarship or scholarships, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body;
(5) Incorrect or misleading information provided by the purchaser or beneficiaries may result in a refund of the purchaser's and contributors' contributions, less any administrative processing fees assessed by the governing body. The value of the refund must not exceed the actual dollar value of the purchaser's or contributors' contributions; and
(6) The governing body may determine other circumstances qualifying for refunds of remaining unused participant Washington college savings program account balances and may determine the value of that refund.



Tuition units exempt from bankruptcy and enforcement of judgments.

In regard to bankruptcy filings and enforcement of judgments under Title 6 RCW, tuition units purchased more than two years prior to the date of filing or judgment will be considered excluded personal assets.



Washington college savings program account depositsEffect of bankruptcy filings and enforcement of judgments.

With regard to bankruptcy filings and enforcement of judgments under Title 6 RCW, participant Washington college savings program account deposits made more than two years before the date of filing or judgment are considered excluded personal assets.



College savings programAuthorization and parameters.

(1) The committee may establish a college savings program. If such a program is established, the college savings program shall be established, in such form as may be determined by the committee, to be a qualified state tuition program as defined by the internal revenue service under section 529 of the internal revenue code, and shall be administered in a manner consistent with the Washington advanced college tuition payment program. The committee, in planning and devising the program, shall consult with the state investment board, the state treasurer, the state actuary, the legislative fiscal and higher education committees, and the institutions of higher education. The governing body may, at its discretion, consult with a qualified actuarial consulting firm with appropriate expertise to evaluate such plans for periodic assessments of the program.
(2) Up to two hundred thousand dollars of administrative fees collected from guaranteed education tuition program participants may be applied as a loan to fund the development and start-up of a college savings program. This loan must be repaid with interest before the conclusion of the biennium following the biennium in which the committee draws funds for this purpose from the advanced college tuition payment program account.
(3) The committee, after consultation with the state investment board or other contracted investment manager, shall determine the investment policies for the college savings program. Program contributions may be invested by the state investment board, in which case it and not the committee shall determine the investment policies for the college savings program, or the committee may contract with an investment company licensed to conduct business in this state to do the investing. The committee shall keep or cause to be kept full and adequate accounts and records of the assets of each individual participant in the college savings program.
(4)(a) The governing body may elect to have the state investment board serve as investment manager for the funds in the college savings program. Members of the state investment board and its officers and employees are not considered an insurer of the funds or assets and are not liable for any action or inaction.
(b) Members of the state investment board and its officers and employees are not liable to the state, to the fund, or to any other person as a result of their activities as members, whether ministerial or discretionary, except for willful dishonesty or intentional violations of law. The state investment board in its discretion may purchase liability insurance for members.
(c) If selected by the governing body to be the investment manager, the state investment board retains all authority to establish all investment policies relating to the investment of college savings program moneys.
(d) The state investment board shall routinely consult and communicate with the committee on the investment policy, earnings of the accounts, and related needs of the college savings program.
(5) The owner has exclusive authority and responsibility to establish and change the asset allocation for an individual participant college savings program account.
(6) Neither the state nor any eligible educational institution may be considered or held to be an insurer of the funds or assets of the individual participant accounts in the college savings program created under this section nor may any such entity be held liable for any shortage of funds in the event that balances in the individual participant accounts are insufficient to meet the educational expenses of the institution chosen by the student for which the individual participant account was intended.
(7) The committee shall adopt rules to implement this section. Such rules shall include but not be limited to administration, investment management, recordkeeping, promotion, and marketing; compliance with internal revenue service standards and applicable securities regulations; application procedures and fees; start-up costs; phasing in the savings program and withdrawals therefrom; deterrents to early withdrawals and provisions for hardship withdrawals; and reenrollment in the savings program after withdrawal.
(8) The committee may, at its discretion, determine to cease operation of the college savings program if it determines the continuation is not in the best interest of the state. The committee shall adopt rules to implement this section addressing the orderly distribution of assets.

NOTES:

Effective date2012 c 198: See note following RCW 70.94.6532.



GET ready for math and science scholarship programTuition unitsOwnership and redemption.

Ownership of tuition units purchased by the office for the GET ready for math and science scholarship program under RCW 28B.105.070 shall be in the name of the state of Washington and may be redeemed by the state of Washington on behalf of recipients of GET ready for math and science scholarship program scholarships for tuition and fees except that during the 2013-2015 fiscal biennium any unused tuition units may be used for the college bound scholarship program established in chapter 28B.118 RCW.

NOTES:

Effective dates2013 2nd sp.s. c 4: See note following RCW 2.68.020.
Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.
Intent2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.



Legislative advisory committee.

(1)(a) A legislative advisory committee to the committee on advanced tuition payment is established. The advisory committee shall consist of the following members:
(i) Two members from each of the two largest caucuses of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives. At least one member from each caucus shall be a member of the house of representatives ways and means committee and at least one member from each caucus shall be a member of the house of representatives higher education committee; and
(ii) Two members from each of the two largest caucuses of the senate appointed by the president of the senate. At least one member from each caucus shall be a member of the senate ways and means committee and at least one member from each caucus shall be a member of the senate higher education and workforce development committee.
(b) All members must be appointed by June 30, 2011, and must serve a term of no less than two years.
(c) Vacancies on the advisory committee shall be filled by appointment by either the president of the senate or the speaker of the house of representatives. All such vacancies shall be filled from the same political party and from the same house as the member whose seat was vacated.
(d) The members of the advisory committee shall serve without additional compensation, but shall be reimbursed in accordance with RCW 44.04.120 while attending meetings of the advisory committee and of the committee on advanced tuition payment.
(e) The advisory committee shall appoint its own chair and vice chair and shall meet at least once annually.
(2) The advisory committee shall provide advice to the committee on advanced tuition payment and the state actuary regarding the administration of the program including, but not limited to, pricing guidelines, the tuition unit price, and the unit payout value.
(3) Staff support for the advisory committee must be jointly provided by the senate committee services and the house of representatives office of program research.

NOTES:

Effective date2011 1st sp.s. c 12 §§ 1 and 6: "Sections *1 and 6 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and take effect immediately [June 6, 2011]." [ 2011 1st sp.s. c 12 § 8.]
*Reviser's note: Section 1 of this act was vetoed.



Construction of chapterLimitations.

This chapter shall not be construed as a promise that any beneficiary shall be granted admission to any institution of higher education, will earn any specific or minimum number of academic credits, or will graduate from any such institution. In addition, this chapter shall not be construed as a promise of either course or program availability.
Participation in the advanced college tuition payment program or the Washington college savings program does not guarantee an eligible beneficiary the right to resident tuition and fees. To qualify for resident and respective tuition subsidies, the eligible beneficiary must meet the applicable provisions of RCW 28B.15.011 through 28B.15.015.
This chapter shall not be construed to imply that the redemption of tuition units in the advanced college tuition payment program shall be equal to any value greater than the undergraduate tuition and services and activities fees at a state institution of higher education as computed under this chapter. Eligible beneficiaries will be responsible for payment of any other fee that does not qualify as a services and activities fee including, but not limited to, any expenses for tuition surcharges, tuition overload fees, laboratory fees, equipment fees, book fees, rental fees, room and board charges, or fines.