While every state's system is a bit different, Maryland's prepaid plan lets families use tuition credits based on a weighted average tuition of Maryland's public colleges. This year, that's $8,900, says Joan Marshall, executive director of College Savings Plans of Maryland. The family would have to pay the difference in price.
If parents bought a year's tuition in March 2003, they would have paid about $6,300 for about $9,000 worth of tuition that can be used for a private college in the 2013-2014 school year. "With our plan, more than half of our students who are using their plan are attending a private or out-of-state college," Marshall says.
Ultimately, families should choose what's best for them. "There are many college tuition savings options that exist and no plan is a one size fits all," says The Private 529 Plan's Farmer.
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