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February 2, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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State legislators may not close Guaranteed Education Tuition program

GET is to be understood as a long-term program

Some financing systems are intended to be accomplished over a long term. The GET college-financing program is one of them — parents and others contribute while future students are young, and the credits purchased are used a decade or more later when the beneficiaries reach college age and matriculate [“Shifting gears, lawmakers voice support to keep GET,” NWFriday, Feb. 1].

During the intervening years, the funds are invested, and assumptions about financial soundness are based on long-term averages for the investments. This is responsible.

But people who “analyze” such a program all too often insist on a method that assesses what might happen if all credits were to be cashed in at the same time. Why? This is absurd, actuarially unsound, and the result can be flawed public policy.

I suggest that everyone who does this — legislators, bureaucrats and, yes, journalists — stop right now and figure out a more intellectually honest way of analyzing this and similar programs.

--George Randels, Port Townsend