With increasing inflation, are college savings plans the best option?

Posted at 11:49 AM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 19:02:25-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — With inflation impacting every aspect of life, the Michigan treasury reaching out to parents saving for college, with a proactive campaign.

“When I came here I had no clue," said Raam Kumar, parent.

As a parent managing stress of inflation and planning to save for his daughter’s college tuition, Raam Kumar is taking advantage of a new opportunity inside the Henry Ford Centennial Library in Dearborn.

At the library, the Michigan Department Of Treasury is helping parents setup 529 college savings plans, like the Michigan Education Trust (MET) and Michigan Economic Savings Plan (MESP).

“I didn’t know about the MET and MESP and the difference between these two categories.”

“The earlier you start saving the easier it is for you to reach goals. Start with a little bit of money and build up as the child gets older,” said Heather Barthelmes, marketing manager with the Michigan Education Trust (MET).

Barthelmes is highlighting a promotion matching $150 toward each new prepaid tuition contract.

The MET program allows those buying college credits in Michigan to lock in current prices while the MESP offers an investment option.

“If you don’t have a good education, it’s hard to succeed,” said Rick Bloom, owner of Bloom Asset Management.

Financial expert Rick Bloom of Bloom Asset Management offers guidance about whether or not these options are still better than others.

He says, both Michigan treasury choices are ideal.

“If I had a newborn, would I buy a U.S. savings bond for college? The answer is no. You can’t go wrong with MESP. It doesn’t take a lot to start and only $25 to open a plan,” said Bloom.

Heather points out benefits of the MET plan, including the fact it’s tax deductible and more.

In Michigan, the class of 2019 has an average debt of more than $30,000 and more than 50% had some amount of debt.

“What’s really interesting is it’s not just student debt, but much of it is parents which is parent loans.”

From Raam’s perspective, getting the most bang for your buck is more important than ever when battling rising tuition costs.

“This meeting definitely helped me to plan better. The sooner we start the cheaper it will be. Also, it gives us piece of mind.”

Community information and enrollment sessions will be happening again later this year. For more info, just go to