Jackson—The plan for pre-paid tuition is back—but it costs a lot more than it did in 2011.
The vote passed the board Wednesday to re-launch the program but you’ll pay much more this time around. It’s the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program. It was closed in 2012 due to funding issues. MPACT will start again on October 1st but this time there are some pricey changes.
This new version of the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program has staggered pricing depending on your child’s age. The most expensive option is a four year university education contract for an eighth grader—at nearly $45,000 compared to $24,000 in 2011. In some cases, prices are sixty to ninety percent higher.
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch says the upping the price was necessary.
“In three years tuition costs have gone up nineteen percent.” She adds that if the old plan was still open, the prices would have been adjusted yearly to accommodate the rising costs.
The previous version of MPACT called for 128 college hours to be covered but now only 124 are covered in the contracts. Degree plan requirements at Mississippi universities vary from 120 hours to 128 hours. If your child uses less hours, you can get a refund.
But that there is a more affordable option if MPACT is not for your budget.
“It’s called MACS,” Fitch describes the Mississippi Affordable College Savings program, “if your family can only put back twenty or thirty dollars, it’s affordable for your family.”
Even with the rise in price, the original gap in funding from the program’s previous launch won’t be covered. New policies dictate that the board will ask the Legislature for 10% of the lacking funds for the years when the old plan wasn’t funded entirely. In 2013 that funding gap was 82 million. So far no action has been taken to refill that void.
Enrollment begins October 1st. For more information on MPACT or MACS, visit State Treasurer Lynn Fitch’s website.