Texans can now prepay for college once more - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Texans can now prepay for college once more

Austin_Once again, Texas parents can lock in current college tuition rates and start paying now - even if their would-be graduates are infants.

Comptroller Susan Combs on Wednesday unveiled the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, which allows parents to start paying undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees for their children's future education. Enrollment is open to all Texas residents.

The plan is a reincarnation of the Texas Tomorrow Fund, which has been closed to new participants since 2003, when lawmakers deregulated college tuition and rates increased sharply.

"You can prepay for a four-year degree, or you can prepay in small bites - just for a few classes or semesters," Combs said. "And best of all, you don't have to worry about future tuition increases because you lock in current prices."

Parents could choose to buy credits at one of three price levels, ranging from the highest-cost, four-year-universities, like the University of Texas at Austin, to a two-year community college.

At this year's rates, for instance, a parent of a newborn could pay $60.36 a month to buy a year of tuition and fees at an average four-year university. The parents of a 7-year-old would pay $81.53 a month for future tuition and fees.

Enrollment runs through Feb. 28 of next year, but the first payments would be due May 1. Similar plans are available in other states, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia and Florida.

If a child enrolled in the Texas plan chooses to go to a private or out-of-state school, the amount invested will be returned.

"Regardless of a family's income level, the children of parents that start saving early are more likely to have higher academic achievement the complete four years of school," Combs said. "That's why I'm so excited about this program."


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April Castro, AP Writer © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
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