By Amanda Burdette
BALTIMORE – Gov. Parris N. Glendening started a public awareness campaign for Maryland’s new prepaid tuition program with a personal story.
Years ago, he said at a news conference Thursday, he worked his way through college — in a tool and die factory. But his son, Raymond, a freshman at the University of West Virginia, and others his son’s age find it “almost impossible.”
The Maryland Higher Education Investment Program has a tentative start date of Jan. 1, 1998.
Glendening called the program, which allows parents to begin investing as soon as a child is born, a “tremendous step forward” in paying for a college education. It “places responsibility where it should be — in the family,” he said.
The program was established by the 1997 General Assembly, which created a seven-member board whose members will include Comptroller Louis Goldstein, Treasurer Richard Dixon and others with finance, accounting and investment management experience.
The program allows Maryland residents to purchase a contract at the value of a Maryland public university education. The child who will benefit cannot have gone further than the ninth grade in school.
David S. Iannucci, deputy chief of staff to the governor, said the board will decide how to run the program within the next 100 days, but most likely there will be three choices:
* Parents could pay a lump sum for their child’s tuition, which would then be invested;
* Payments could be made monthly for five years; or
* Payments could be made monthly until their child enters college.
Virginia’s prepaid tuition program, started in 1994, is a model for Maryland’s.
There, the current value of a college education is $15,312. Parents of a newborn who would be enrolling 2016 would pay $308 per month on the five-year plan or $128 a month until 2016.
Contributors may put the child on a path to a two-year, four year or private institution, and can change that choice along the way.
Iannucci said the program is an option for parents who don’t have the time or know-how to make sound investments. “This is a convenience. It is easy — they don’t have to worry about mutual funds,” he said. In order to assist the public, the board has an information line — 1-800-903-7875 — and a Worldwide Web site under construction. -30-