OLYMPIA — This week the Office of the State Actuary reported at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Committee on the financial state of the GET program, a program that allows students and their families to prepay for credits at Washington public colleges and universities and be protected from future tuition increases. The Actuary reported that the financial health of the program is strong.

In the 2013-15 budget, Senate Democrats lobbied hard for increased higher education investment so that tuition increases could be limited.  As predicted, the increased state investment that allowed tuition to be held flat in 2013 further reduced the GET program’s already low risk of insolvency down to a minute 0.1 percent in the next 50 years.  These factors also increased the funded share of the GET liability from 81 percent as of June 30th, 2012, to 94 percent as of June 30th, 2013.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle and ranking Democratic member on the Senate Higher Education Committee, and Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, released the following statement on the actuarial report:

At the beginning of the 2013 session, there were calls in the legislature to close the GET program.  However, we knew from the beginning that an already safe GET program could be further strengthened if we increased state support for higher education and held the line on tuition. We made sure that the funding to help keep college affordable and accessible for students was included in the 2013-15 budget and this week we saw how that paid off in further strengthening the GET program.

“The GET program is a great way to help working and middle class families save for college.  We heard loud and clear from students, many of whom saved for their own educations with GET credits, that we needed to keep this program open. This program reduces the skyrocketing student debt loads that are abounding in this economy.

“By continuing to increase funding for public higher education, we’ll make sure that college can stay affordable and accessible for students while delivering the kind of world-class quality of education that they need to get the great jobs of the future. Doing so will also strengthen state programs, like GET, that help students and families pay for college.

“This news from the state actuary is a win for students and their families and we’re glad that Senate Democrats stood firmly on the side of strengthening this vital program.”