Accounts nothing new, just an option

Arizona could finally be on its way to passing a bill benefiting both students and parents.

The Arizona House Committee on Education is deciding on House Bill 2270, which would create tax-free savings accounts, opened at a child's birth, that would cover the cost of sending that child to an Arizona university for four years, including tuition and tuition inflation.

Parents would have to sign a five- to 18-year contract to invest a certain amount into the fund.

For example, if a parent pays $125 a month to an account until the child is 18 years old, this means that a parent would pay $27,000 over a period of 216 months.

This is a substantial amount, and one that should benefit all parties involved since it directly goes to an account.

But why haven't more parents taken such steps on their own?

If they value education, why does it take a government bill to set up a way to save for college?

And it seems that if parents have not saved regularly on their own, will they really make the monthly payments under this plan?

Many parents have set up accounts at their child's birth, preparing themselves for their child's college education. These can be similar to the proposed account, except for one area: Many are not tax-free and do not grow with tuition inflation.

Government interaction to set up such accounts is a good idea, but parents should have been responsible on an individual basis.

Also, about $250,000 to $500,000 of taxpayers' money will be needed to start up the program. This money could be better used to fund scholarships and university programs if parents had been aware of their child's future and saved.

Parents should understand that such a bill is important to education in our society, but one that really wouldn't be needed if steps to save had been taken beforehand.

In short, the concept is nothing new. Hopefully, with government intervention, parents will learn how to save for their child's education - something that should come naturally.

Staff Editorial