Parents Praise 'Power of the U.Plan' College Savings Plan
Twenty years ago, the birth of her son inspired Paulette Ann Silva-Glasser to start saving for college in the U.Plan Prepaid Tuition Program. Now with three children and her oldest in college, Silva-Glasser says her family has saved enough to avoid borrowing to pay for college.
"The power of the U.Plan is amazing, once you understand how it works," said the dental hygienist from the Merrimack Valley. "Our savings in the U.Plan will allow all three of our children to graduate from college with no debt, and we are incredibly proud of that."
"The U.Plan was the first college savings program in Massachusetts, and all these years later, it is accomplishing its goal of helping families save and pay for college" said Thomas Graf, Executive Director of MEFA, which offers the U.Plan. "Parents with U.Plan savings accounts tell us how much they rely on the guarantee and peace of mind that comes from having a college savings plan to pay for college. We urge all families to consider the U.Plan as part of their college savings strategy."
To save in the U.Plan, families deposit money saved for college that is used to purchase tuition certificates backed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts general obligation bonds. Upon maturity, the tuition certificates can then be redeemed to attend any one of the participating Massachusetts public and private colleges and universities.
For example, Silva-Glasser saved $5,000 in the U.Plan when her son was born, an amount that equaled 100% of tuition and fees at a state university at the time. When her son enrolled 18 years later at UMass Lowell, a participating school, 100% of tuition and fees equaled $13,000, but Silva-Glasser owed no additional money to cover tuition and mandatory fees.
When establishing a U.Plan college savings account, there is no requirement to pick a college or university from among the network of over 70 participating public and private institutions in Massachusetts.
"I knew there was a strong likelihood that my first child would attend college in Massachusetts, so the U.Plan was a great college savings plan for my family," said Anthony DeFrancesco, a Bentley University graduate whose son also attends the Waltham-based private university. "Even if he had chosen to attend a college not in the U.Plan, I was still saving for college and that money would come back to me to use at whatever college he chose to attend."
If the child attends a college outside of the U.Plan network, the savings is returned to the account owner along with interest compounded annually.
"The value to me as a parent of saving in the U.Plan cannot be overstated. Having the peace of mind to know that despite the rising cost of college, I had a percentage of future tuition prepaid was huge," said DeFrancesco.
Important features of the U.Plan:
- U.Plan earnings are exempt from state and federal tax.
- The U.Plan has no program, application, or enrollment fees, so every dollar saved by a family goes toward paying for college.
- The minimum investment is $300 per maturity year.
For more information on the U.Plan, call (800) 449-MEFA to speak with a U.Plan specialist or visit mefa.org/uplan.