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Giving the lifelong gift of GET

One of the hip holiday gift ideas of recent is the experience present. King and Pierce counties even partnered up for a Waste Free Holidays program about a decade ago and are still promoting discount prices on gift certificates for amusements such as restaurants, ballet and spas.

It is tougher to think up such presents for children, but there is one possibility out there that not many families seem aware of — giving the priceless gift of education at a discount that can hardly be matched by even the biggest Santa sales.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind gift that is easy to give and sure to please,” said Betty Lochner, director of Guaranteed Education Tuition. “When you give GET, you’re telling children that you believe in them and care about their future.

“It’s amazing to see how small gifts over time add up to big money for college.”

When they were younger, Tyler Start’s, 19, and his brother Riley Start’s, 17, parents would ask them to put half of any Christmas money gifts toward their GET accounts.

That was eight years ago and Tyler, a sophomore at Washington State University, is already using his GET dollars for tuition and other expenses. He got a scholarship too, said his mother Randall Start, which is good because his computer science and physics classes will likely keep him at WSU for five years. Whatever GET money he saves with his scholarships, will roll over for the extra year or be used for books, room and board, and other college expenses.

The Chico family’s younger son is now a senior at Central Kitsap High School and also headed for WSU.

“We started putting money in as soon as we found out about the program, which was about eight years ago,” Randall said. “It just seemed like such a good thing to be paying at eight-years-ago prices.”

The investment was her husband Tony Start’s idea.

“He’s much more the ant and I’m the grasshopper,” Randall said, chuckling.

The Starts’ purchase of four years worth of college tuition for each of their

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