Montgomery judge approves PACT settlement

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An agreement to settle the state of Alabama's PACT litigation has now been approved by a Montgomery County judge.

Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick approved the settlement in the Lisa Nix Green, et al v. Kay Ivey, et al case Wednesday, according to the Alabama Treasury Secretary's office.

Troy University reacted to the news saying:

It is unfortunate the dispute involving the Alabama PACT program had to be resolved through the legal system. However, Troy University is satisfied that Judge Hardwick's ruling treats all Alabama colleges and universities fairly and equitably. Troy University has always maintained that any solution to PACT's problems should not come at the expense of the students and we were the first college or university in the state to voluntarily freeze our tuition for PACT students. On July 23, 2010, Troy University rescinded its tuition freeze for PACT participants (instituted on May 8, 2009) in response to legislative action.

The settlement affects the manner in which tuition and fees will be paid by Alabama's Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program (PACT). Beginning with the fall 2011 term, PACT tuition and fee payments will be made at the rates that were charged by Alabama public institutions in the fall 2010 term.

PACT participants will be responsible for paying any current tuition and fee amounts above the PACT payments.

"The settlement provides benefits for all contract holders, preserves substantial value and protects the program with a long-term financial plan," said State Treasurer and PACT Board Chair Young Boozer. "This is the best possible outcome for PACT participants, given the available assets."

Many of the parents who hold PACT contracts said they were disappointed by the outcome, but felt the settlement was the best option.

"It's a good outcome. I don't think in this economy had I invested myself that I would have had this good of an outcome," said Chris Shubird, of Montgomery.

Boozer said if conditions improve for the program in the future, PACT may be able to cover tuition beyond the 2010 level.

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