Farrington to host meeting on college investment plan

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 25, 2013

STERLING HEIGHTS — A local state representative is promoting a longstanding Michigan program to help families set aside money toward educating the next generation.

State Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, will preside over a town hall meeting Sept. 30 at the Sterling Heights Public Library. During the meeting, he will discuss the Michigan Education Trust.

According to Farrington, the trust is a way for families to plan out their finances and pay for their posterity’s undergraduate college tuition in advance.

“The MET is something that’s been out there for decades,” Farrington said. “Basically, it allows parents, grandparents to invest when the child is young.”

As a father of a junior at Michigan State University, Farrington said he knows firsthand how escalating college costs can affect families. Although colleges have been increasing tuitions on an annual basis, he said he has approved three state budgets that have tried to rein in the increases.

But in the meantime, Farrington said parents should learn all the ways they can successfully save and invest for an expense that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. During the town hall meeting, audience members can hear expert guidance and learn the program’s specifics.

“We want to make sure that more people can know about it and take advantage of it,” Farrington said. “You’ve got to have some money behind you. For those who can do it, it’s an excellent investment program.”

According to Robin Lott, executive director of the Michigan Education Trust, the agency will be sending policy analyst Diane Brewer to explain the program during the town hall meeting.

According to Lott, MET is a 529 prepaid tuition plan. Since MET’s founding in 1988, more than 100,000 contracts have been sold to date through the program, and about 52,000 have been paid in full, she said.

“We cover tuition and mandatory fees if the child goes to a Michigan public college,” she explained. “And we provide refund amounts if they go out-of-state or  (to an) in-state private college, and refunds if the students do not go to college. They are transferrable, as well, to other family members.”

According to the program’s website, savers may contribute to the program via payroll deduction, and the payment plans for MET contracts may extend over terms of four, seven, 10 or 15 years. In addition, people may deduct the MET contract price off of their state income taxes, and the accrued money is also tax-free upon intended use in college.

The Michigan Education Trust town hall meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Sterling Heights Public Library, 40255 Dodge Park Road, in Sterling Heights.

Learn more about the MET at www.setwithmet.com.