MEFA's U.Plan: One of the Best and Safest Ways to Save for College
BOSTON [April 30, 2018] - When it comes to saving for college, one of the best and safest options is the U.Plan Prepaid Tuition Program. Understanding how the U.Plan differs from other college savings plans is a key to taking advantage of its benefits.
Unlike other college savings options, the U.Plan, administered by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), has several unique features:
- Savings in the U.Plan is designed to keep pace with the rising cost of college, by locking in future tuition and mandatory fees at current prices.
- Massachusetts residents qualify for a state income tax deduction for U.Plan contributions–up to $1,000 for single filers and $2,000 for married couples filing jointly.
- There are no fees, and no Massachusetts or federal taxes on earnings.
In order to benefit from the U.Plan, families must deposit contributions into a new or existing U.Plan account during the annual enrollment period that runs from May 1st to June 30th. Funds deposited into the U.Plan are used to purchase Tuition Certificates, backed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts general obligation bonds, which cover a corresponding percentage of the current tuition and mandatory fees at more than 70 participating colleges and universities.
The Tuition Certificates purchased in 2018 will cover the same percentage of tuition and mandatory fees when they're used in the future, regardless of how much college costs may have risen. For example, one family deposited $5,000 into the U.Plan upon the birth of a child, which at the time equaled 100% of a year's tuition and mandatory fees at a state university. When the child enrolled at the state university 18 years later, his tuition and mandatory fees were fully covered, even though the tuition and mandatory fees had grown to $13,000 per year.
There are common misperceptions about prepaid tuition programs that can lead savers away from a safe and advantageous program. The truth is:
- The child does not have to choose a school until it is time to go to college.
- More than 70 public and private colleges and universities participate in the program, giving students a great selection.
- If the child opts for an out-of-program school, the family receives the U.Plan savings back plus interest earned, with no tax penalties.
For more information on how the U.Plan works and how to open an account, visit mefa.org/uplan and watch a quick video, The U.Plan Made Simple.
MEFA is a not-for-profit state authority, not reliant on state or federal appropriations, established under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15C. MEFA's mission, since its founding in 1982, has been to help Massachusetts students and families access and afford higher education and reach financial goals through education programs, tax-advantaged savings plans, low-cost loans, and expert guidance. All of MEFA's work aligns with the ever-present goal to support the independence, growth, and success of Massachusetts students and families. Visit mefa.org to learn more or follow MEFA on Twitter @mefatweets and on Facebook at mefaMA.
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