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GUEST COLUMN: How to Succeed During Back to School 2022 – The Vicksburg Post

GUEST COLUMN: How to Succeed During Back to School 2022

Posted 4:00 am Sunday, August 28, 2022

By Treasurer David McRae | guest columnist

Welcome back to school. Our three children are excited to return to school and are off to a great start, and I hope that all of their families are adjusting well to the new schedules as well. The Mississippi Department of Education has back-to-school information and resources for students and families available for you to access online at mdek12.org.

This also seems like a good time to once again introduce information on college savings plans offered by your State Treasury. It’s hard to think about how quickly time flies, but if you have a third grader who is 9 years old, that child is halfway through college. The best time for parents and grandparents to save and prepare for college expenses is now. With skyrocketing inflation costing us more at gas stations, the grocery store, and everywhere else, I know saving for college may not be top of mind or seem so urgent, but the sooner you start, the more you can earn and save. Here are some tips.

Help your student be academically successful. Encourage them to take advantage of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which can count as college credit hours. This will save time and money in the long run. Also, help them achieve the best possible ACT or SAT scores. Then, research which schools offer scholarships or grants based on academic performance.

Save what you can now. Even if you start late, four years of savings is better than zero. Through College Savings Mississippi, you can open a Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) account for as little as $25. Once you make that first deposit, your investments will have the opportunity to grow tax-free. Set up a monthly direct deposit to help ensure consistent contributions. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov/MACS.

Invite your family to participate. Once you set up a MACS account, almost anyone can contribute to it. Consider encouraging your child to ask friends and family to make contributions to their MACS account as birthday or holiday gifts. It could also be used as an incentive for academic performance or as payment for a job well done.

Please take a few minutes to check if you or other members of your family have any unclaimed money on our website at Treasury.MS.gov. One in 10 Mississippians has unclaimed money. This could be from an old bank account or utility deposit or other long-forgotten sources. We make the online claims process quick and easy, or if you see your name, give us a call to start your claim. Finding some unexpected, unclaimed money could be a great way to use those funds to open a college savings account for a loved one.

Whether your child is 6 or 16, take a few minutes this week to find a Mississippi college savings plan. If you prefer to skip the online research, simply call our team at 601-359-3600 to get your questions answered. Even if you’re not sure of your child’s educational ambitions right now, know that a MACS account is very flexible. It can be used for two- or four-year college tuition, apprenticeship programs, books, room and board, and much more. It can even be transferred to another beneficiary if you wish.

I know it may seem like we have forever before our children leave the nest, but like it or not, that reality is often closer than it seems. So give us a call and get started now.

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer of the State of Mississippi.

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