Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alabama's PACT Program Puts a Freeze on New Enrollment

By Velida Alemic

In order to help ease the pain of paying for college tuition, Alabama state has been offering a program called Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program (PACT Program) to help you safe for college. The PACT Program allows you to prepay 135 semester hours of college tuition for any Alabama public college or university. The PACT Program can also be used for any private or out-of-state institution. Flexible plans are available according to the age of the child you are starting to pay for. Monthly payments range between $176 and $617. These investments are exempt from income taxes as well.

On Tuesday, March 24th the board of the program agreed to keep paying tuition for those who have been members of the program but not to allow new children to enroll. In September 2007, the program had $899 million in assets but on February 28, 2009 their assets plunged to $431 million due to the circumstances on Wall Street. As of right now, Alabama needs $481 million to meet its future tuition obligations. There are 12,000 students attending college right now under this plan, and others who have been paying are nervous about their future college goals. Feeling helpless, the board members have turned to the state Legislature for help. The Legislature has agreed to work with the program in order to help it succeed.


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