PACT plan to no longer pay full cost

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The board of Alabama's financially troubled prepaid college tuition program has approved a survival plan that would end the tradition of paying all tuition costs at public universities in the state.

The board voted for a plan Tuesday that calls for paying a fixed amount for tuition, starting in fall 2010, and raising the amount annually based on the program's earnings from investments rather than the rising cost of tuition.

Students choosing the three most expensive state universities - the University of Alabama, Auburn University and the University of Montevallo - would immediately have a financial gap between the plan's payments and their tuition costs. Then as tuition grew in future years, students at other public universities would experience a gap.

The plan is subject to approval by an Alabama court before it takes effect. It also hinges on a commitment from the Legislature to pump in an estimated $236 million over the next two decades.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)