SH – Audit of college tuition program long overdue

Since 1996, Mississippi has been selling future college educations at current prices. The Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Plan, or MPACT, now has 22,293 participants and it holds more than a quarter of a billion dollars in trust.

Those are impressive numbers. But are they impressive enough?

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch isn’t so sure.

According to Fitch, even with $265.1 million in trust, MPACT is only 76.8 percent funded, leaving a $94 million shortfall. MPACT is shy of where it needs to be financially because its investment earnings last year were just 0.6 percent, far below the nearly 8 percent earnings it needs to stay ahead of tuition increases. Indeed, MPACT has not earned as much money as it has needed to since 2000.

Staying ahead of academic costs makes or breaks MPACT.

Sun Herald
9/29/12