Politics & Government

State prepaid tuition units will rise to $117

As of Saturday, it will cost $117 to buy one unit in Washington's prepaid tuition program, or about $11,700 for a year for tuition at the state’s most expensive public colleges.

The increase from this year’s price of $101 per unit is a few percentage points more than the 14 percent tuition is expected to go up at the state’s four-year colleges next fall.

The Guaranteed Education Tuition committee set its new unit price to reflect future investment and tuition expectations, said GET Director Betty Lochner.

Enrollment is closed for the year – except for new accounts for infants, which are now open year round – but those already enrolled have until Friday to buy units at this year’s price of $101.

Meeting in Olympia on Monday afternoon, the GET committee got some good news about enrollment and investment results.

Enrollment this academic year was the second largest in the program’s 12-year history. New accounts do not hold as much money as new accounts did in previous years. Lochner blames the recession and the higher cost of tuition for slowing investments.

Investment returns picked up during the last quarter and the fund is now looking at a one-year return of 7.5 percent, although that wasn’t enough to make up for several years of investment losses. The fund has $1.3 billion and continues to grow, Lochner said. The 10-year investment return is about 4.93 percent.