A pool of state money used to help students pay for college will empty in three years, according to the state treasurer's projections.
State Treasurer Janet Cowell has told legislative and education leaders the escheats fund — which consists of money collected from sources such as unclaimed bank accounts, forgotten utility deposits and insurance policy proceeds, plus the investment interest — will be drained by 2012.
The state uses the money for college loans and scholarships, Lynn Bonner reports.
In a letter to legislators earlier this month, Cowell estimates the fund will be $59 million in the red by 2012. "That means money available today for an incoming college freshman for financial aid will not be there by senior year," she wrote.
The fund paid $210 million for scholarships this school year.
Cowell asked legislators not to withdraw $5 million from the fund, as the Senate approved in its budget, and urged them to maintain a $200 million minimum balance.
"In addition, I also urge you and your colleagues to revisit the fund's overall structure and sustainability," she wrote. "We cannot keep our promise to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to higher education if we are depleting the means for them to do so."