BILL REQ. #:  H-1424.1 


State of Washington62nd Legislature2011 Regular Session

By Representatives Hasegawa, Moscoso, Reykdal, Seaquist, Santos, Probst, and Kenney

Read first time 02/09/11.   Referred to Committee on Higher Education.

     AN ACT Relating to the GET ready for college program; adding a new section to chapter 28B.95 RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds that education is the single most important investment a state can make to ensure that it remains globally competitive. The legislature, Washington citizens, education leaders and practitioners, and students must take collective responsibility to ensure that all qualified citizens have the opportunity to succeed in a world-class, learner-focused, seamless education. The legislature further finds that lifelong learning is a fundamental value of a civil society, the state of Washington, and the primary family of its students.
     The legislature also finds that early investment in a student can make the difference in the student's aspiration and commitment. Research indicates that students form attitudes about going to college as early as elementary school. If policymakers want to increase participation in the state's apprenticeship programs, colleges, and universities, outreach efforts must begin early and occur often.
     Saving for college is one way a student's family and extended community can ensure that financial obstacles will not prevent a child from realizing the dream of going to college. A modest financial investment by the state of Washington to initiate a college savings plan will contribute to the success of students in achieving their educational aspirations and will benefit the state's goal of educating more students to higher levels of education.
     Therefore, the legislature intends to encourage families to begin saving for college by paying the enrollment fee for a GET account for each child born in Washington and supplementing that account with additional GET units over the child's educational career. This action plants the seed, early on, that going to college is possible, regardless of socioeconomic status. It also plants the seed that saving for college is important and provides an easy way to begin saving.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   A new section is added to chapter 28B.95 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) The GET ready for college program is established. Subject to funds appropriated for this specific purpose, the board shall pay the fifty dollar enrollment fee to open a GET account on behalf of every child born in Washington state after the effective date of this section. In carrying out this duty, the board shall:
     (a) Develop and implement a process for establishing the accounts and account beneficiaries;
     (b) Establish rules for implementing the program;
     (c) Provide information to hospitals, clinics, physicians and nurse practitioners, birthing centers, community organizations, school districts, and institutions of higher education regarding the program, the state's offer to pay the enrollment fee to open an account, the one unit minimum purchase requirement, and the program benefits and limitations; and
     (d) Accept grants and donations from private sources to match state funds appropriated for the GET ready for college program.
     (2) Parents or guardians of children born in Washington state after the effective date of this section who open a GET account and purchase one GET unit shall have deposited into that account additional GET units upon the child reaching five educational milestones. The board shall purchase GET units to be owned and held in trust by the board and distribute units to individual, personally owned accounts upon the child achieving the following:
     (a) Upon entry into kindergarten, five units;
     (b) Upon completion of the fourth grade statewide academic assessments for reading, writing, and mathematics, ten units. The child does not need to meet the state standard to receive the GET units;
     (c) Upon completion of the fifth grade, fifteen units;
     (d) Upon completion of the eighth grade, twenty units; and
     (e) Upon graduation from a Washington state public high school, fifty units.
     (3) The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall enter into any necessary data-sharing agreements with the board to facilitate implementation of this section.
     (4) The board shall develop necessary forms, policies, and procedures to provide parents or guardians the ability to voluntarily waive any privacy rights to facilitate the exchange of personal information between the common schools and the board for implementation of this section.
     (5) The GET ready for college account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. The board shall deposit into the account all moneys received for the GET ready for college program from appropriations and private sources. Only the executive director of the board or the executive director's designee may authorize expenditures from the account. Expenditures from the account, not to exceed five percent, may be used by the board to carry out the provisions of this section. The account is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but an appropriation is not required for expenditures.

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