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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2009

Combs Says Texas Tuition Promise Fund Is a Holiday Gift That Will Last a Lifetime

(AUSTIN) — If you want to give a child a gift that will outlast this year’s must-have toys or trendy clothes, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs suggests opening a Texas Tuition Promise Fund account or contributing to an existing account.  The flexible, prepaid college tuition plan allows families to lock in  tuition and required fees at current prices for the state’s public colleges.

“Whether it’s a four-year degree or career training at a community college, higher education ensures the success of our children and the economic future of our state,” Combs said. “Saving for college guarantees our children will gain the skills they need for good-paying jobs. With this plan, we’re putting those goals within reach for all families.”

If your holiday gift giving includes charitable donations, the Texas Match the Promise Foundation is a new statewide initiative to fund college scholarships for students who are enrolled in the Texas Tuition Promise Fund.  Donations will be used to match families’ contributions to their children’s prepaid college tuition accounts, stretching college savings for eligible students.

Individuals and companies can make tax-deductible donations to the Texas Match the Promise Foundation.  Visit www.MatchThePromise.org to learn more about the foundation and the selection criteria for awarding matching funds to families committed to saving for their children’s education.

The Texas Tuition Promise Fund opened a new enrollment period in September, with new pricing for undergraduate tuition and required fees, based on 2009–10 academic year costs:

  • Type I units, priced for tuition and required fees for the most expensive public four-year school in Texas, costs $103.40 per unit.
  • Type II units, sold at the weighted average of tuition and required fees across all Texas public four-year schools, costs $71.75 per unit.
  • Type III units, priced at the weighted average cost of tuition and required fees across all Texas public two-year schools, costs $17.78 per unit.
According to the plan, 100 units equal one year of tuition and required fees. Families can buy up to six years (600 units) worth of undergraduate education. There are several payment options, including lump- sum payments or installments with an annual interest rate.

“Families can prepay for a four-year degree, or prepay in small bites — for just a few classes or semesters,” Combs said. “Parents of a newborn can pay as little as $15.45 per month in monthly installments until high school graduation for a year of tuition and required fees at a community college. For parents of a 7-year old who want to prepay the average cost of one year at a Texas public university, the monthly installments are $86.48 per month over 10 years. This plan is flexible enough to fit any family budget.”

Accounts must be paid in full and open for at least three years before prepaid tuition benefits can be used.  If a contract has unused units because a student attends a lower cost school, the value of unused units can be refunded or transferred to a 529 college savings plan or to another beneficiary.

To help families sort out the many options to pay for college, Combs offers Every Chance, Every Texan, a Web portal with links to everything parents need to know about paying for college, Texas’ state-sponsored college savings plans and other sources of funding such as scholarships and student loans. It also includes tools to help families calculate college costs and determine whether they are saving enough money to meet their goals. A section on tomorrow’s careers shows the jobs that will be in demand in the future and the education requirements for various fields. Also, middle school students can also explore their career options and find resources to begin planning their future at the Comptroller’s Get a Life Web site at www.getalife.tx.gov.

Visit Every Chance, Every Texan at www.EveryChanceEveryTexan.org or go directly to the Texas Tuition Promise Fund Web site at www.TexasTuitionPromiseFund.com for detailed information about the prepaid tuition program. Families may also call (800) 445-GRAD (4723), Option 5.

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