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College Tuition Program to Reopen this Fall

JACKSON, Miss.- Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program will reopen this fall.

The State College Savings Board voted Monday to reopen Mississippi’s college saving program. The MPACT program has been closed for 18 months to new participants.

College costs more money now. It didn’t look like the state could afford to keep the program going when it was frozen to new participants in 2012.

Treasurer Lynn Fitch and other College Savings Board members said to expect a higher contract price for the MPACT program when it does reopen.

There is currently a nearly $82 million deficit in the MPACT program. The program was shutdown to new members because it was financially struggling and investments had gone sour, but board member Len Blanton made a motion Monday to reopen the program, saying it has been studied enough and he believes it should be reopened with the goal of this fall. Other board members were on board.

Fitch has suggested the state use interest from unclaimed property administered through her office to wipe out the deficit in the program.

The Michigan-based actuary firm Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co., hired to audit and make recommendations, has said if the program closes it will cost $143 million to fully fund the program for the roughly 22,000 children enrolled in it.

Fitch told the Clarion Ledger that she thinks the right decision was made to shut down the program 18 months ago and said “I would do it over again, I think we did the right thing.”

Fitch said MPACT will still be a great investment even at its higher cost.

Mississippi’s college saving website for MPACT explains exactly what the program offers stating, “Mississippi offers two 529 college savings plans. A 529 plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families prepare and save for future college costs. These plans are named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code that created these types of savings plans in 1996. There are two types of 529 plans, prepaid and traditional savings plans.”

For more information on the plans or to pick out your own college saving plan you can visit their website at http://www.collegesavingsmississippi.com/

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