LANSING: As parents begin to fill back-to-school shopping lists, Michigan Education Trust (MET) is encouraging them to consider buying college tuition at today’s prices to prepare for their children’s future education.
“Back-to-school season is the perfect time to think back to the future when it comes to educational planning,” said Diane Brewer, executive director of MET, the prepaid education savings program administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury. “We’re asking parents to look beyond pencils and notebooks needed now and look to the future by purchasing tomorrow’s college credits at today’s prices through MET.”
MET, the nation’s first 529 prepaid education plan, has helped tens of thousands of families since 1988 with an affordable way to save for their education by prepurchasing tomorrow’s tuition at today’s rates. Signed into law in December 1986, it was the first prepaid education program in the nation. More than 96% of high school graduates participating in MET have attended a college, university or technical school.
MET alumna Lisa Ingall of Ann Arbor understands firsthand the value of MET and the life-changing impact it has on working families.
“Thanks to my mom’s foresight, I was a member of the original MET class,” said Ingall, a 1998 University of Michigan engineering graduate. “My mom was divorced and didn’t have a lot of extra money, but she valued education. She wasn’t going to let money stand in the way of her daughter going to college.”
Her mother’s investment has made a generational difference for Ingall and her sister, Casey Parrotte, and it will for Ingall’s 12-year-old son, Devin Saha, and Parrotte’s two daughters, ages 3 and 5.
“My mother knew that while you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for it,” Ingall said. “As a mom now myself, I can attest to the fact that there is no better cornerstone than MET for building the foundation for your child’s educational future.”
Among the many motivations for opening a MET account, Brewer pointed to the increasing number of young adults facing significant debt after completing their college education. By getting an early start in offsetting the often-overwhelming financial burden associated with higher education, MET enables more people to attend college or pursue other post-secondary education and join the workforce without being saddled with massive debt.
Brewer noted that anyone can contribute to a child’s education savings plan, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and others. With a Pay-As-You-Go plan, once the plan is opened, contributions can be as low as $25.
“The beauty of MET lies in its flexibility,” Brewer said. “There is a MET plan for everyone and everyone should consider opening a MET plan as part of their savings portfolio..”
The 529 plan also has tax advantages. For instance, distributions from MET are not taxed by the state or federal government when it comes time to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Michigan residents who are MET contract holders can also claim a state tax deduction on the total contributions they make during a calendar year.
Contributions to an existing account can be made at any time during the year through MET’s secure online pay site. The MET gift declarations also allow contributors to print out certificates of their contributions designed for holidays, birthdays, graduations and more that can be put in a card or gift wrapped.
More information about MET can be found at SETwithMET.com or by calling 800-MET-4-KID.