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Throughout December, the Michigan Education Trust (MET) is offering Michigan families an opportunity to support both the current and future education of their students.

Through its monthlong “Get 50, Give 50” campaign, MET will provide a $50 match to the first 300 new contract purchasers, as well as $50 that they can donate toward a public school classroom project.

“In total, that’s a $30,000 investment MET is making in the education of Michigan students,” said Robin Lott, executive director of the Section 529 prepaid college tuition program administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“Those who receive a $50 match by buying a MET contract are helping to secure a student’s future higher education,” she explained. “At the same time, we’ll mail them a $50 gift card that they can use to support current preschool, elementary or secondary education. They can apply it toward funding a project in the classroom of their choosing — whether it’s the one their contract beneficiary attends, another schoolroom in their community or a classroom elsewhere.”

The gift card will be redeemable toward projects listed on DonorsChoose.org, a website where teachers post classroom project requests and donors select the ones they want to support. Donors can fund all or a portion of a project.

When a project is fully funded, DonorsChoose purchases the requested items and ships them directly to the school. Donors receive a thank-you note from the teacher and sometimes from students, photos of the classroom and a report on how the money was spent.

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose has vetted more than 1.3 million classroom project requests nationwide.

Projects recently listed on the website include $605.50 for glowing drumsticks at an East Lansing elementary school, $1,300 for fetal pigs that a Detroit high school anatomy class will dissect, more than $1,000 for a variety of items to assist disabled students at a Battle Creek development center and nearly $350 for art supplies to help preschoolers in Port Huron learn letters and numbers.

‘A win-win-win’

MET, the nation’s first prepaid college tuition program, lets families purchase college tuition for future use at today’s rates. Known as a Section 529 plan, after the section of the Internal Revenue Code that allowed for it and similar programs’ creation, MET offers tax-free investment growth and a Michigan income tax deduction on contributions during the year they’re made.

The 300 $50 matches MET is offering during December will apply toward purchases of any of the three types of MET contracts.

Pay-As-You-Go contracts allow buyers to make an initial purchase of just a single credit hour worth of prepaid tuition. After that, they can contribute as little as $25 toward the account on their own schedule.

MET also sells prepaid tuition in semester increments on a lump-sum or monthly payment plan basis.

“MET, at its core, exists to promote education,” Lott said. “The $50 match, combined with the $50 DonorsChoose donation, is what I’m calling a ‘win-win-win’: Families win by helping secure their child’s future, students benefit from an enriched public education, and our hardworking teachers have the opportunity to better serve their classrooms.”

Michigan residents can receive the $50 match and $50 DonorsChoose.org gift card by using coupon code GIVE50 while purchasing a contract at SETwithMET.com. More information is available at 800-MET-4-KID (517-335-4767).

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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