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Open enrollment for college trusts runs through March 31

December 04, 2006

BALTIMORE - The Maryland Prepaid College Trust (MPCT) has opened its 2006-07 enrollment period, which continues through March 31, 2007. The MPCT gives families an opportunity to lock in future tuition rates.

The CSPM, an independent state agency, also administers the Maryland College Investment Plan (MCIP). The MCIP offers 13 investment options, with no sales commissions or loads, and enrollment is open year-round. Both plans offer federal and Maryland state tax benefits and can be used at most accredited colleges in the country.

In addition:

· New federal tax legislation deems funds used for college and eligible college expenses permanently tax-free.

· Financial-aid treatment is the same for both programs.

· The $75 enrollment fee has been eliminated and other fees have been lowered.

· Plans are available that provide a state income deduction for Maryland taxpayers. Earnings also are tax-free when used toward eligible college costs.

· The trust will pay full in-state tuition and mandatory fees at any Maryland public college or university when enrolled children reach college age. Tuition benefits also may be applied to most colleges and universities across the country.

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· Prepaid college trust payments do not start until Aug. 1, 2007, offering families the opportunity to save money between enrollment and the first payment date.

· The MPCT is open to 10th- through 12th-graders. Enrolled students may begin to use their account benefits after three years of investment maturity. In addition, down-payment options are available. Annual payments also are available.

· Smaller gifts may be purchased by others as an alternative to savings bonds.

Online enrollment information is available at www.collegesavingsmd.org.

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