The deficit reduction bill that Congress passed Wednesday has one benefit for the families of students, and that is equality in the treatment of different kinds of 529 college savings plans, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Before the legislation was passed, savings-variety college savings plans were treated more favorably than the prepaid variety.

Prepaid plans are operated by state governments and allow families to buy shares of future tuition at the current rate, while savings plans do not offer this guarantee but work a lot like tax-deferred retirement plans.

"People are going to take a serious look at prepaid tuition plans again," said Mark Kantowitz, a financial aid expert in Pittsburgh. He thinks that the number of these types of accounts will double within the next three years.

"We're in favor of this move because it will bring public policy in line with our own institutional view," said Joe Paul Case, director of financial aid at Amherst College.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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