Our View: State should cover PACT shortfall

Our View

In short: State officials should prevent the possible failure of PACT, not UA.

Many students and parents are concerned that their contracts with the state through the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program will not be fulfilled, leaving students’ tuition unpaid. Tuition costs have risen faster than the program could cover, and depleted funding threatens the college careers of many students.

PACT funds are invested by the state, but those investments are not necessarily guaranteed. Possibly risky investments and a general economic downturn have led to these investments falling short of tuition. While an independent study recently confirmed that there was no wrongdoing with regards to the investment of these funds, the fact that these funds are not guaranteed can be misleading.

When parents invested this money with the state, they expect the program to live up to its goal. They expected their money to be there when their children go to college. When people participate in a program with the government, they expected it to be more reliable than if they took it to Greenetrack and bet on the greyhounds.

It should have been made clearer that PACT was not as reliable as advertised. Most people do not see it as an investment; they see it as a guarantee.

Some people are calling for the University to cover the difference between what PACT will pay and the new, higher tuition rates. This is not the University’s problem, however. There is no need for the university to charge some students a different rate just because the state cannot cover the cost of its programs.

The state should either cover the difference and live up to the original promise of the program or make it clear that the PACT was not a promise. While contracts did not include the word “guarantee” after 1995, according to the Florence Times Daily, the guarantee was implied.

PACT allows people who may not otherwise be able to go to college to get a degree, but this asset to our state is at risk. The state should act to ensure that parents who made this investment in their children’s future are able to reap the benefits of it.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.