By: Treasurer David McRae
With each new school year, our family falls into new habits. We figure out new breakfast routines, new drop-off routines, new afterschool activity routines. It takes a bit of adjustment in the beginning, but soon enough it’s second nature. For many families, I think that’s similar to how they feel when they begin seriously saving for their child’s college. It takes a little adjusting, but once you make it a habit, it’s second nature.
Each year, school bells help ring in the open enrollment period for the State Treasury’s Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (MPACT) plans. These plans allow families to lock in today’s tuition rates and prepay their child or grandchild’s way through college. While you can open a plan like this at any age, it’s a habit that is best when you start early, as starting early often means saving money and securing a lower monthly payment.
I am pleased to let you know we were able to avoid any increase in MPACT rates this year, due to strong market growth and an updated investment strategy that we worked with the state legislature to implement when I first came to office.
MPACT plans can be opened by almost anyone and almost everyone will receive tax advantages for doing so. This means, a grandparent can use it as part of their estate planning, an aunt or uncle can give it as a gift, or a parent can plan early to keep their child out of decades-long debt. Regardless of who opens it, the beneficiary will be put on a path to greater financial independence – one free from the burdens of high student loan debt.
MPACT plans are also made to be flexible. They can be used for two-year or four-year colleges. They can be used in-state or out-of-state, although the plans might not cover the entirety of tuition at private or out-of-state schools in the way they would a public, in-state college or university. Moreover, they can be used for tuition up to eight years after your child’s high school graduation, meaning the plan won’t be diminished if they take a gap year, for example. There are also adjustments made if your child receives a partial or full-ride scholarship. In other words, these plans take a lot of factors into account to make sure they’re going to work for you and your family.
If you are interested in introducing college savings into your new school-year habits, please visit Treasury.MS.gov/MPACT to learn more or call my team at (601) 359-3600. We would love to answer your questions.
To those students and teachers returning to school, welcome back. Have a wonderful 2021-22 school year.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned more than $30 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.