It came as a surprise to many people last week when State Treasurer Lynn Fitch decided to halt any new enrollment in the Mississippi prepaid college tuition program commonly called MPACT. The program started in 1996 and lets parents lock in college tuition early preventing future tuition hikes.
Fitch is concerned the investments from the parents' tuition payments are not making enough money to sustain the program. It seems like she is making the right call, as the program investments have only averaged 4.3 percent since it began.
MPACT needs more than a 7 percent return on average to maintain itself. Parents who have already paid into the program need not worry about their tuition cost as the state guarantees to make up any loss.
However, what the treasurer and MPACT board members must now decide is whether the program can be resumed or modified, or was this just an idea that seemed good at the time, but now does not make economic sense?
During these tough economic times, Mississippi does not have any extra funds to keep MPACT going, unless the program can pay for itself.
That's our opinion; we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments below.
WLOX-TV General Manager
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