Treasurer touts MO$T benefits

Friday, November 30, 2001

More than 19,000 Missourians have invested $69 million in a higher education savings program offered by the state since 1999, and state treasurer Nancy Farmer is optimistic more will soon start investing.

Farmer was at Jefferson Elementary School in Cape Girardeau Thursday to talk about the Missouri Saving for Tuition, MO$T, program -- a state-sponsored investment program that offers tax benefits as encouragement for families to save for advanced education after high school.

MO$T accounts are opened with as little as $25 on behalf of a designated beneficiary whom the account holder decides, and who does not have to be a relative of the account holder or resident of Missouri.

The account holder can then make contributions throughout the year, which are deducted from their Missouri state taxable income at the end of the year, up to a maximum of $8,000 a year.

"Regular contributions to a MO$T account is the best way families can ensure the money will be there to pay the costs for higher education down the line," Farmer said.

When the beneficiary is ready to go to any accredited higher learning institution throughout the nation, the money can be used to pay for expenses including tuition, books and some room and board costs.

Family choices

"Families have a clear choice in paying for higher education," Farmer said. "They can borrow later and pay interest, or open a MO$T account now and earn interest."

Farmer stressed that people looking to open accounts can still do so before Dec. 31 and receive tax benefits for 2001.

"MO$T is a win-win program for Missouri," Farmer said. "Taxpayers who open or contribute to MO$T accounts by Dec. 31 can still take up to an $8,000 state income tax deduction or a $16,000 deduction for two-income households for this tax year."

Applications for MO$T accounts can be obtained at the program Web site, www.missourimost.org.

hkronmueller@semissourian.com

335-6611 ext. 128

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