Tutition payment info offered

October 29, 2000

Tutition payment info offered

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

The Washington County Board of Education will be holding several informational meetings on a state program that allows parents to prepay for their child's college education based on the current tuition of Maryland public schools.

The program, called the Maryland Prepaid College Trust, was created by Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the Maryland General Assembly in 1997.

If the child attends a Maryland public college, the trust will pay the full tuition and mandatory fees. If the child decides to attend a private or out-of-state college, the trust will pay that college a weighted-average tuition based on the average tuition costs at the Maryland public colleges weighted by the number of full-time in-state students attending each college.

If the cost of a private or out-of-state college is higher than the weighted average, the parent or student will be responsible for the difference, according to a written statement from the state.


Parents or any other adult must first buy a tuition plan, which allows them to pay back the amount monthly, annually or all at once. There are also down payment options available for every tuition plan, according to the state.

"This really does make college at some level affordable for every working family," said Donna Messina, the Board of Education's community relations specialist. "It's a win-win for everyone."

Messina will be hosting the informational meetings. Open enrollment for the trust began Oct. 10 and will run through Feb. 28, 2001.

"The earlier you start, the less expensive the payments are," she said.

Messina also said Maryland residents can deduct up to $2,500 per year on income taxes until they have deducted the full amount of their contribution.

The trust is also backed by a legislative guarantee that ensures the college money will be available if the trust ever experiences a shortfall, she said. Under the guarantee, the governor is required to put an amount in the budget to cover the shortfall.

To find out more on the Maryland Prepaid College Trust, call 1-888-4MD-GRAD or visit, or attend the Board of Education's informational meeting. The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on:

-Thursday, Nov. 2 at Clear Spring Middle School

-Monday, Nov. 27 at Springfield Middle School

-Thursday, Nov. 30 at Western Heights Middle School

-Thursday, Dec. 7 at Hancock Middle-Senior High School

-Thursday, Jan. 4 (snow date Wed., Jan. 10) at Boonsboro Middle School

-Monday, Jan. 8 (snow date Thur., Jan. 11) at Smithsburg Middle School

-Tuesday, Jan. 23 (snow date Thurs., Jan. 25) at E. Russell Hicks Middle School

The Herald-Mail Articles