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Texans can prepay college costs with Texas Tuition Promise Fund

It allows parents to prepay student tuition and fees at a locked-in rate.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The cost of higher education continues to climb. Since 1980, the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board grew 169%, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

But, there are options that parents can consider as soon as a child is born. It's called the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, and it allows parents to prepay student tuition and fees at a locked-in rate.

"Parents can start early and not wait until later and then have to do loans, or perhaps not be able for the child to attend college," Program Specialist Maricela Arce with the Texas Tuition Promise Fund said. 

RELATED: You may qualify for free college tuition in Texas. Here's how to check

With this program, parents can open an account when the child is a newborn for the child to use after they graduate high school. If you have a high school student, you may want to act quickly. There is a three-year waiting period for those funds to be available once purchased.

"Once you purchase, we sell tuition units in our program and tuition units, they have to be in the accounts for three years before they get used," Arce said. 

"If you have a ninth, or let's say a tenth grader or 11, and you're planning this late in the game to do it, you can do it. But just keep in mind, they won't be able to use it right out of high school. They have to wait that three-year holding period to utilize them."  

Director of Financial Aid Services at Del Mar College Joseph Ruiz said it is smart to begin to prepare now for your child's education. 

"The cost of everything is going up, Ruiz said. "So definitely, it is a challenge for students to be able to manage their every day with also the costs of going to college.

For Del Mar College students, the base tuition rate for one, three-credit course hour is about $400. That has increased about $40 in just the last five years. 

"They have gone up a little in order to maintain, you know, good features for the institution to be able to provide excellent computer services, and definitely new services for our students," Ruiz said.   

Because Del Mar College is a community college, they are able to keep their costs down using community taxes. That is much different at a public university. 

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, like many other higher education institutions, have increased the cost of tuition and fees over the years. 

Dr. Andy Benoit, Vice President for Enrollment Management at TAMU-CC said there are more options than ever for parents handling the cost of their student's education.

"Roughly for every tuition unit, if they get say 100 tuition units, it equals the same of roughly about 30 hours that a student would pursue in college." 

The Texas Tuition Promise Fund will work at schools across the state as long as the school is not a medical or dental institution. 

"You know, we don't know what the future holds for families," Arce said. "This plan allows families to plan ahead."

The Texas Tuition Promise Fund is waiving their $25 application fee for new enrollments which open September 1.

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