PROOS: Give the gift of a college education this Christmas

Continuing education and higher education are important for students’ future careers.

They open doors to opportunities for getting a good job, making more money and enjoying a high quality of life.

The difference in estimated lifetime earnings between college and high school graduates is significant. Individuals with bachelor’s degrees can expect to earn 75 percent more during their lifetime than workers with only high school diplomas.

If your kids plan to go to college, a great way for southwest Michigan residents to help make that dream come true is to give them the gift of higher education through a college savings plan.

For those interested in this gift idea, there are two different college savings plans to choose from in Michigan: The Michigan Education Trust (MET) is a prepaid tuition plan that allows for the prepurchase of tuition based on today’s rates at Michigan public universities, and the Michigan Education Trust Plan (MESP) is a college savings plan that allows families to save for tuition, room and board, and more.

MESP funds can be used at any college or vocational school nationwide, and the MET offers refunds for uses at an out-of-state institution or community college.

Residents wishing to give and those wanting to set up an account for their child should visit misaves.com or michigan.gov/setwithmet for details about the plans and how to donate.

At misaves.com/gift, residents can donate to a child’s existing MESP college savings plan or set up a plan as a gift this holiday season. Friends and family can open a new plan for as little as $25.

For gift-givers, the site also has a feature that allows them to print a gift certificate that they can give to the child.

I encourage Michigan families to consider giving the gift of education. It is easy to do and it’s a gift that can help open the door to a world of opportunities for a loved one.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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