Governor Robert Bentley has signed into law a bill designed to salvage a settlement with participants in the state’s ailing Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (PACT) program. The bill strikes language from a 2010 law that the Alabama Supreme Court made the basis for refusing to approve the settlement. Justices said the language prohibited the PACT contracts from being altered.
The settlement in the lawsuit called for PACT to cover tuition at 2010 levels — instead of the full tuition that families thought they would be getting — and for students or families to make up the difference. PACT is faced with running out of money after being hit with rising tuition prices and falling investment returns. The program will go into the red in about three years, according to one recent actuarial report.
Alabama Treasurer Young Boozer is asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision relating to the settlement, and to let the settlement stand. Legislators put the bill on the fast track so the change would be made by the time briefs are filed with the Court. The bill also would remove tuition caps for PACT participants that the 2010 legislation put in place at some universities in the state. It will now be interesting to see what happens in the Supreme Court. Hopefully, the settlement can be approved since it appears to be the best ending to a very bad situation. The settlement is far from perfect, and lots of folks will still have to pay substantially more than they should. But apparently it’s the best that could be worked out for those in the program considering all of the circumstances.
My good friend Doyle Fuller represented the Plaintiffs in this case and he has done a very good job, especially under some most difficult and politically-charged circumstances.
Source: Associated Press
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