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Politics

Missouri Makes College Savings Easier

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/missourima_6806.mp3

Saving for college is difficult for many families, especially in the current economic climate. Missouri is doing what it can, though, to help families save through the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program, or MOST. A new law is making it easier to take advantage of this plan. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.

Over 123,000 families have accounts with MOST to save for their child’s education. MOST is a tax-advantaged savings plan sponsored by the state of Missouri. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel says the new law will make it easier for families to save money with the plan.

“What this does is remove red tape for college savings. It ensures that we are doing what can in Missouri to encourage people to save, not tell them how to save,” Zweifel said.

One of the biggest changes was the elimination of a 12 month holding requirement to receive state tax benefits. Now, families can receive the tax benefits regardless of when they put money into the account. Zweifel says Missouri was at a disadvantage with this hold. He says the state tax deductions are one of the best parts of the plan.

“For every dollar you set aside, you are actually getting a deduction in your state tax liability. So not only is there an immediate benefit and an immediate return for those families, but also that money then grows tax-free, so it helps you in two different ways,” said Zweifel.

Some colleges in the state, including Missouri State University, also offer scholarships to participants of the MOST program. Zweifel says this plan is a way for Missouri families to make a college degree possible.

The tax advantages will be available when the law takes effect on August 28.

More information on the MOST 529 Plan is available at www.missourimost.org.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.