Changes to Mississippi's college savings program - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Mississippi's college savings program undergoing changes

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The state's pre-paid college tuition program is at a stand-still. MPACT or Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition allows parents to lock in college tuition rates early and not have to pay for any tuition hikes later on.

A recent audit of the program raised multiple financial concerns and put the College Savings Board on notice that changes had to happen to keep the program going.

"It laid out a roadmap on how we can work through the issues," said State Treasurer Lynn Fitch. "Look at investments, our debt allocation and how to make this fund sustainable and then also how we look at other opportunities as we move forward."

Since the audit presentation on April 30th, committees met to focus on MPACT's future. While there's currently a freeze on new enrollees to the program, the board has started taking steps to bring it back to life.

"There's been a lot of careful and considered study about how to make the MPACT plan sustainable," said incoming board member Cory Wilson. "How to make it so the state can afford it, as well as deliver on the promises we've made to Mississippi school kids."

Those currently enrolled in the program will have their investments honored. But two of the committees recommended a change. And the full board approved to lower the assumed rate of return from 7.3% to 7.0%.

"The changes will just be truly investment. How we switch our investment. How we look at where we invest and we allocate our debt," described Fitch. 

Bottom line, the college savings program still has a future. It will just be restructured.

"It may not be exactly like it is but certainly how we can make progress to open it sometime in the future," said Fitch.

And the board still has questions they're researching before pressing play again.

"Do you do a full tuition plan or do you do by the semester plan or possibly by the hour," said Fitch.

No timeline has been set on when the enrollment may re-open.

There is another program called MACS or Mississippi Affordable College Savings. The state treasurer's office tells us that program is not affected by the current changes.

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