Frequently Asked Questions
General MET questions
- What is MET? MET is a 529 prepaid education savings program which allows you to pay for future higher education at today's price. MET is flexible, transferable and even refundable. MET is specific to tuition, it does not pay for room and board or books. Depending on the beneficiary's choices, MET provides:
- Prepaid tuition and mandatory fees at any Michigan public university and community college upon admission. MET cannot guarantee that a student will be admitted to any Michigan university or college.
- Funds from a terminated MET can be directed to a Michigan independent (private), out-of-state college or trade school.
- Refunds can be made if a beneficiary decides not to attend college.
- How does MET pay for future tuition? The state's experienced money managers at the Department of Treasury invest the money paid by MET purchasers. Currently those funds are invested in equities and bonds. MET uses the funds and investment earnings to pay MET beneficiaries' tuition costs and mandatory fees.
- Who manages the MET fund investments? The Department of Treasury, Bureau of Investments, manages MET's investments and has successfully managed Michigan's pension system.
- Who can access MET contract information? Only those persons listed on the contract as beneficiary, purchaser, or appointee will be given contract specific information whether via phone, written communication, email, online access or any other means of communication with the MET office. MET will only provide general program information to all other inquiries.
- What fees are charged for program administration? Since MET is administered in-house, only 49 basis points are allocated to program administration. Administration fees are assessed on the trust as a whole, not individual METs. Individual METs are subject to a processing fee, a transfer fee, a termination fee (if terminated for a refund), a late monthly payment fee and a NSF fee, if applicable. No other fees will be charged.
- Does the State of Michigan offer any other education savings programs? Yes. The Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) and the Michigan Advisor Plan (MAP) offer multiple investment options to encourage families to save for higher education. Savings may be used for tuition, fees, room, board, books and equipment required for enrollment. For more information visit SaveWithMI529.com.
- Is there a telecommunications device for the speech/hearing impaired? Telephone help is available through the Michigan Relay Center by calling 711 for assistance.
- Are MET purchases made with pre-tax or after-tax dollars? When purchasing MET, you are using after-tax dollars. Pre-tax contributions are usually reserved for certain types of retirement plans.
- Can another 529 program be used to purchase MET? Yes. After MET enrollment, a MET rollover form must be submitted to the other 529 program and a check will be sent to MET.
- What is an Appointee? The Appointee is a third-party that has access to contract information. The Purchaser can elect to allow the Appointee to become the Purchaser in the event of the Contract Purchaser's death.
- What is a Refund Designee? At the time of purchase, the Purchaser is asked to designate an individual who will receive a refund if benefits are not paid directly to a higher education institution. That person is the Refund Designee.
- When is my payment due? Lump sum payments and first credit hour payments for Pay-As-You-Go are due on the 25th of the month following enrollment. See MET enrollment kit for due dates on monthly purchase plans.
- Can my beneficiary have multiple contracts? Yes. A beneficiary can have any number of contracts. A family may choose to have both a Community College and a Full Benefits (or Limited Benefits), or multiple family members could choose to open up individual METs for the Beneficiary. The only limit is that each beneficiary may only accumulate up to 150 MET credits of any type.
- Why am I paying more for a monthly payment contract? Monthly purchase payment amounts include a 5.5% rate of return, therefore the total amount paid will be more than if paid by lump sum.
- What is the payment option with the most flexibility? The Pay-As-You-Go option gives you the ability to open MET with a minimum purchase of one credit hour. After the initial credit hour, additional contributions of a minimum of $25 may be made at any time to purchase additional credit hours, or fractions of credit hours, at the price in effect at the time the payment is received.
- What is Pay-As-You-Go? It is a MET payment option that allows you to purchase credit hours in any increments (to the third decimal place) at the current credit hour price.
- Will my price be locked in, similar to a monthly purchase option? No. You will be paying the current credit hour price. Our enrollment periods and pricing will be published each year and prices are subject to increase during each enrollment period. Current prices will always be listed on our website. Unlike the monthly purchase option, you won't pay a "rate of return" so in most cases you will likely end up paying less over the life of a Pay-As-You-Go option compared to a monthly purchase option.
- How much do I have to pay to open up a MET? You must purchase at least one credit hour for your chosen plan type. Your initial credit hour payment is due by the 25th of the month after you enroll. You also have the option to pay the initial credit hour at the time of purchase (via online enrollment or mailed in signature page).
- What if I don't pay the initial credit hour in time? One day after the due date, MET will mail you a letter reminding you that it is still due. Thirty days after the due date, your contract will be canceled. If you had made a payment that equaled less than one credit hour, your payment will be refunded.
- How will I know how many credits I've purchased? If you make a payment by mail, you will receive a letter by mail confirming the credit hours you purchased with your most recent payment, as well as the total number of credit hours purchased to date. Regardless of payment method, you will receive quarterly and annual statements updating you on your current credit hour balance. You can also view your current credit hour balance online at any time.
- Can other people contribute to my Pay-As-You-Go MET? Yes, MET will accept contributions from anyone, not just the Purchaser. Payments from friends and family can be made by mail or on the MET payment site.
- I have a monthly purchase MET. Can I stop paying on that and start paying on a Pay-As-You-Go option instead? Yes, you can. Simply send MET something in writing (by mail, fax, or scanned and emailed) stating you no longer wish to make payments on your monthly purchase MET. We will freeze the benefits in that contract and send you a confirmation letter that it has been processed. You can open a Pay-As-You-Go contract at any time during open enrollment.
- Can I make automatic contributions to my Pay-As-You-Go? Yes, we offer Automatic Clearing House (ACH) contributions. To begin ACH contributions, fill out MET form 3695 and include the amount you want to pay each month and we'll set it up for you. We also offer payroll deduction and electronic one-time contributions in addition to mailed-in contributions.
- How soon are credits in my pay-as-you-go contract available for my beneficiary to use? Credits are available 45 days after the final payment to a Pay-As-You-Go MET has been made. A Pay-As-You-Go MET may be activated or terminated before the 45 days have passed, but no disbursements from MET will be made until 45 days after the final contribution has been made. Once a Pay-As-You-Go MET has been activated, it is no longer open for contributions. You can, however, open up a new Pay-As-You-Go MET during open enrollment and contribute to that MET while your beneficiary is in school. For example, a family may choose to activate their Pay-As-You-Go MET while their beneficiary begins freshman year at a university, and then open up a new Pay-As-You-Go MET to keep saving for tuition later in the beneficiary's college career.
- My annual statement says I have purchased 25.732 credit hours, how much will MET actually pay? Once your Beneficiary activates their MET, the credits purchased will round up to the nearest .5 credit hours, so your Beneficiary would have 26 credit hours available.
Using a MET contract
- Can MET students attend any Michigan public university or college? Yes. MET benefits can be used at any Michigan public university or college upon the student being admitted to that institution. MET cannot guarantee that a student will be admitted to any Michigan university or college.
- Does a student have to use MET immediately after high school graduation? No. A student has 15 academic years from the expected high school graduation year to use all credit hours, transfer unused credits or receive a refund.
- Is a student required to enroll full-time to use their MET? No. A student may take one or more classes during consecutive or non-consecutive semesters until all credit hours are used or until 15 years from their expected high school graduation year, whichever comes first.
- What are the mandatory fees? Mandatory fees are those required to be paid by all students attending a particular university/college. Application fees, contact hour fees and fees which are course specific or program specific (such as program fees, lab fees for science and computer classes, etc.), or fees assessed based on the number of credit hours enrolled are not covered. MET does not pay for room and board or books.
- What if my student's major requires more than 120 credit hours? MET will stop providing benefits under each contract when MET has paid the credit hours purchased. If MET pays for courses that are repeated to improve a student's grade point average or for incomplete, failed or withdrawn classes, they will count against the total number of credit hours allowed under the contract. A standard baccalaureate degree usually consists of 120 semester credit hours (or, on average, 30 credit hours each year). MET does not cover the cost of contact hours (hours spent with the instructor).
- What if my student receives a full scholarship? If a Beneficiary receives a full tuition scholarship, the contract is eligible for termination or transfer, the Refund Designee may receive a refund per contract provisions. A full scholarship must be equivalent to or greater than the contract years purchased.
- What if my student receives a partial scholarship? Students who receive partial tuition scholarships, grants, or other types of tuition assistance (including faculty/employee benefits paid by a public institution) may still use MET. The institution should invoice MET for all credit hours for which a student enrolls. Any excess amount should be refunded to the student by the institution.
- What if my student attends a Michigan independent (private) or out-of-state college or university? If a student is admitted to a Michigan independent (private) or out-of-state college, funds can be directed to the college. The amount of funds will be based on the type of plan.
- Will MET cover tuition for a student that moves out-of-state after MET has been purchased but wants to attend a Michigan public college or university? MET provides payment of in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at a Michigan public university. Each university determines residency requirements. If the college or university deems the student an out-of-state resident, MET will provide in-state tuition and mandatory fees and the student will be responsible to pay the difference between the out-of-state and in-state tuition costs directly to the school.
- What if a Beneficiary ops for a trade or apprenticeship? When a Beneficiary reaches 18 years of age or receives a high school diploma, the contract can be terminated for a refund and the Refund Designee can use the funds to pay the trade school or apprenticeship program. The tax exempt status of this type refund will depend on the eligibility of the institution as certified by the U.S. Department of Education.
- What if a Beneficiary decides not to attend college? When a Beneficiary reaches 18 years of age or receives a high school diploma, the contract is eligible to be transferred to an immediate family member or refunded to the Refund Designee.
- Can credit hours be applied to graduate school or advanced programs? MET is designed to cover undergraduate courses. However, if a student has remaining MET credit hours they may be used toward graduate school or an advanced program at a Michigan public university or college at the undergraduate tuition rate. The student will be responsible to pay the difference to the school.
- Can a MET be rolled over to another Section 529 program? Once a Beneficiary is 18 years of age, or receives a high school diploma, the contract can be terminated for a refund. The Refund Designee is responsible to roll the funds into another Section 529 program within 60 days of the date of the check.
- The Beneficiary will not graduate from high school in the expected academic year as submitted on the Contract Signature Page at the time of purchase. Can this date be changed? No. Section 8 of the MET contract allows a Beneficiary 15 academic years from the expected academic year to completely use all benefits or receive a refund.
- How does MET affect a student's eligibility for financial aid? As a 529 program, MET is recognized as a parental asset in determining the student's federal financial aid eligibility. Parents who own contracts for their children will need to report the value of all contracts for all their children as an asset when filing the FAFSA. A worksheet to assist parents determine the value to report is available in the Documents section of the MET website.
- What if my student's school has a block tuition rate? MET benefits will be applied to the number of credit hours taken each semester, as reported by the institution. Institutions which are on a block credit hour system will invoice MET for the block rate, but report the actual number of credits taken by the student. MET will deduct the actual credit hours reported from the student's MET.
- What if a person listed on the contract dies? Contact the MET office for available options and next steps.
Terminating a MET contract
- What does termination mean? When a MET is not used at a Michigan public college or university, MET credits are converted (terminated) into dollars payable to an institution or Refund Designee. Termination applies to attendance at a Michigan private college, attending an out-of-state college, attending a trade school, military or not attending college.
- Who can terminate a MET contract? On contracts purchased in 2019 and later, the Purchaser or the Beneficiary may terminate the contract once the Beneficiary is 18 years of age or has obtained a high school diploma.On contracts purchased between 1988-2018, only a Beneficiary who is at least 18 years of age or has obtained a high school diploma may terminate a contract. Therefore, neither a parent nor a Purchaser can terminate a MET contract for any reason. The only exception is if the Beneficiary has died or is diagnosed as learning disabled, then a person with legal authority to act on behalf of the student may terminate the contract.
- If a MET is terminated will there be a lump sum refund? No. Pursuant to the MET statute, termination refunds are made in four annual installments for the Full or Limited Benefits plans if terminating to attend an out-of-state college, receive a full scholarship or not attend college. If terminating a Community College plan, refunds are made in two annual installments. However, a lump sum refund is provided upon death or learning disability of the Beneficiary. See the Termination Refund Provisions chart.
- What if my MET has been terminated and later the Beneficiary decides to attend a Michigan public college? MET funds can be redirected to the Michigan public insitution, however credit hours will not be reverted. If MET has been terminated to pay the Refund Designee, the Refund Designee will have to pay the institution directly. MET will not cover tuition costs in excess of the established refund value.