By Treasurer David McRae
Note: This column is written and provided by Mississippi State Treasurer David McRae.
The countdown to a new school year has officially begun! In no time at all, days at the pool will be replaced by days in the classroom. And with that change of scenery will come new routines and new responsibilities.
Naturally, many of these new obligations will revolve around academic success. New study schedules. New sleep schedules. New meal schedules. But what about a new financial schedule?
The truth is that long-term educational success has become just as much a venture of the mind, as it has an endeavor of the wallet. Capitalizing on rapidly rising college costs, student loan sharks use predatory practices to lure young people into five-or-six-figure debt. In fact, the average Mississippi college student is graduating more than $30,000 in the hole – a sum that will take years, if not decades, to pay back. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
College Savings Mississippi offers two programs to help lessen tuition’s blow. The first is simple and flexible. It’s called MACS – or Mississippi Affordable College Savings. This operates like a savings account with some incredible tax advantages. Simply deposit the money (as little as $25 will do to start) and watch the money grow, with interest, over time.
The other program is called MPACT – or the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program. This is one incredible option! First and foremost, the program lets you lock in today’s tuition, protecting you from as much as 18 years of rate hikes. Beyond that, it lets you spread out the payments as your child grows from an elementary to middle school to high school student. By the time they graduate high school, you are done paying and your child can grab their diploma debt free.
The tricky part about MPACT is that it’s only available for a short period of time. Fortunately, our next open enrollment season will begin when the school bells chime this Fall. While the official start date is Sept. 1, you can begin to research the program now. Visit Treasury.MS.gov/MPACT to learn more or call my team directly at (601) 359-5255 with any questions you have.
As your school year routines begin this year, please consider adding a new financial routine to the mix by contributing to a College Savings Mississippi plan.
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 nearly $75 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.