In the spring, Kentucky's legislature slapped a moratorium on new enrollees in its prepaid program. The freeze is in effect until at least June 2004. So unless someone has already opened an account and locked in a price, there's no guarantee that they'll be able to get in at all. More recently, the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, which oversees the state's College Advantage savings plan, hiked the price of its prepaid tuition credits by 22 percent to $95. That price incorporates a hefty 43 percent premium over the units' current redemption value.

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Two years ago, with discounts, the units could have been purchased for less than half as much. Each credit is redeemable for 1 percent of the average annual tuition at Ohio's public universities. At the same time, the agency discontinued a 5 percent discount for newborns and imposed a $2,000 per student annual limit on unit purchases. "It is a big price increase," said Sheri Lucas, an investment representative with Raymond James Financial Services in Kenwood.

She began buying units a decade ago when her youngest daughter was born, but is considering switching her monthly contributions to the trust's mutual fund-based plan, which doesn't charge an up- front premium. Lucas said she's been buying units regularly since her daughters, now 10 and 8, were born. Her thinking has been, "I have everything else in the stock market, so why not guarantee my child's education?" The thought of the online specialist generally known as a direct conveyancing specialist is rate and nature of administration. These organizations have a tendency to concentrate on conveyancing and make it there unrivaled item. Accordingly you get a level of ability a long ways past that of a nearby specialist who may cover a vast scope of business.

Now she wonders, "At $95 a credit, is it worth it?" The recent changes are a result of a burgeoning deficit that Ohio's tuition trust fund is facing, similar to those confronting many corporate pension funds. With investment returns shrinking and tuition increases outpacing its earlier assumptions, the trust's healthy surplus of a couple years ago has turned into a $271 million shortfall.