GUEST COLUMN: Lock in today’s tuition rates
Published 4:00 am Sunday, May 1, 2022
By Treasurer David McRae
College costs have increased 160 percent since 1980. Today, between tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses, a college education typically costs families around $27,000 annually for a public, in-state university and $55,000 annually for a private education, according to a 2021 College Board report. As a result, most rely on hefty loans that take years — if not decades — to pay back.
This year, seven of Mississippi’s eight public colleges are looking to increase tuition costs, with the only exception being Jackson State University. With a few exceptions, these annual tuition hikes are the norm, leading the U.S. News and World Report to predict that by 2030, annual public school tuition costs could reach $44,000.
Earlier this year, we asked Mississippians if they knew they could lock in today’s tuition rates, insulate themselves from future price hikes, and begin pre-paying their child’s tuition. Two out of every three Mississippians were unaware. That means, we still have work to do.
The Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (MPACT) program has saved hundreds of Mississippi families thousands of dollars on tuition. Perhaps even more importantly, it has put an affordable college experience into the hands of many members of our future workforce.
You can enroll in the MPACT program at any time, but the earlier you start, the cheaper your monthly payments will be. Enrollment in the program, however, is limited. You must sign up by May 31, 2022 to secure today’s rates. Another open enrollment period will begin in September, but rates are expected to rise next season. To learn more, please visit Treasury.MS.gov/MPACT or call my office at (601) 359-3600.
The average Mississippi student graduates with $30,000 worth of debt. By enrolling in MPACT, you can dramatically reduce – and likely eliminate – that decades-long burden on your child or grandchild. I encourage you to explore this program before the open enrollment period ends on May 31 to lock in the best possible rates. Our office is here to help, if you have any questions.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi.