A Look at Mississippi’s 529 College Plan

July 11, 2009 by  
Filed under 529 College Savings Plans Exposed

What is a 529 plan, and how can it help bring your children closer to their educational goals? As a college savings vehicle, state managed 529 college plans are a relatively new option, and many parent have not yet taken advantage of what they can do for their children.

Here is some information on what you need to know about a 529 college savings plan, including what the state of Mississippi can offer your family in the way of 529 college savings plans.

What Are 529 College Savings Plans, Anyway?

The development of 529 college savings plans are relatively new, although most states now have some kind of 529 plan in place. A 529 college savings plan is essentially a special state managed college savings incentive program. The 529 plans were put in place to help parents save money for their college education. There are many things to take into consideration before you begin to invest in your state’s 529 college savings program.

When You Choose a 529 College Savings Plan . . .

Most importantly perhaps, you should keep in consideration the amount of time that your money will be invested in the 529 college savings plan. Other important factors to consider includes you family’s income tax bracket, the fees and charges that are loaded into the plan, the type of fees that are involved, the amount that you will be investing, and they types of income tax deductions that may be available to you if you open a 529 savings plan. Be on the look-out for fees. Even a small difference in fees can make a substantial difference.

Other Important Considerations

When you have decided that a 529 state savings plan is right for your family, you will find that there are still other considerations to be made. One of the most prominent features you will want to focus on is the state tax benefits that may accompany the 529 plan you are considering. Ask about the kind of special tax benefits that will be offered to you as a result of investing in a specific 529 plan. Will your state allow deductions of all or part of your earned interest?

The Mississippi 529 Plans – The MACS Option

The state of Mississippi offers two options that allow you to save for college. Families can choose to invest in either of these section 529 plans, or both of the plans if they so wish. Both of these plans were designed to help families save and plan for their children’s higher education opportunities and expenses. The first plan is known as the Mississippi Affordable College Savings Program, also known as MACS.

The MACS program lets families save for all qualified expenses. Under this section 529 savings plan, qualified expenses refer to tuition rates, fees, room and board expenses, and books. While you don’t have to be a resident of Mississippi to take advantage of the MACS program, Mississippi taxpayers can receive up to $10,000 in state tax deductions.

Your Second Option – The Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program (MPACT)

The MPACT program is described as a prepaid college tuition program. It allows families to pay full tuition along with mandatory fees at any public institution of higher learning in the state of Mississippi without having to worry about the rising costs of education.

In effect, parents can pay the current cost of tuition so that it will be paid off while their students reach college age. However, the MPACT program only covers tuition rates. It does not cover the expenses associated with room and board, books, transportation, or other college related costs.

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