JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi parents again have the choice of locking in today’s college tuition rates and saving for their child’s education through the Mississippi Affordable College Tuition Program (MPAT).
The program closed 2012 because of money problems, and was re-launched Wednesday with some changes.
This newest version has staggered pricing based 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 said the revised higher prices were necessary. “In three years tuition costs have gone up nineteen percent.” She added that if the old plan was still open, the prices would have been adjusted yearly to accommodate the rising costs.
The old MPACT covered 128 college hours, but beginning Wednesday those hours have been reduced to only 124. Degree requirements at Mississippi’s universities are from 120 hours to 128 hours. You can get a refund if your child use less hours.
However, Fitch said there is a more affordable option if MPACT doesn’t fit your budget. “It’s called MACS,” said Fitch as she described the Mississippi Affordable College Savings program. “If your family can only put back twenty or thirty dollars, it’s affordable for your family.”
The program’s original funding gap won’t be eliminated by the higher pricing. To help deal with that, the legislature will be ask to pay 10 per cent of the deficits for the years when the old plan wasn’t fully funded. In 2013, the gap was $82 million.
For more information on MPACT or MACS, visit State Treasurer Lynn Fitch’s website.
~ Courtney Carter contributed to this article. ~
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