Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Ohio tuition plan might be scrapped

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Plagued with soaring tuition costs and declining investment returns, enrollments in the state's prepaid college tuition program could be suspended.

The Ohio Tuition Trust Authority's board is expected to act on the issue today.

Jacqueline Williams, the board's executive director, said solutions could be to end new enrollments in the fund or suspend all sales, including those to the 130,000 current account holders. Ohio's fund is backed by the full faith and credit of the state, meaning existing investments are secure, Williams said.

Under Ohio's guaranteed program, parents can buy credits for future tuition. The credits, based on average tuition at Ohio's 13 public universities, also can be cashed in at private colleges in Ohio or other states.

Despite an increase in credit prices, a financial report last month predicted that the growing gap between tuition and investment returns will leave the fund unable to meet its obligations without state help by 2014.

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