State Treasurer Brian Krolicki says he will have to raise prepaid college tuition rates by 30 to 50 percent when the program is again offered next year.
Krolicki said the increase is needed because of projected tuition increases at Nevada colleges and the current stock market performance.
The program lets parents lock into a set rate today for future tuition payments. Last year, a parent who participated could lock into a $7,460-a-year tuition charge for a current newborn or $9,630-a-year tuition for a current ninth-grader.
There are accounts for 8,407 children.
"To make sure that prepaid tuition is a viable option, we've had to delay the offering this year and will have to raise rates when it is offered again early next year," Krolicki said. "The price is likely to be substantially higher."
Delaying the offering will give Krolicki's office more time to analyze market conditions and tuition increases approved by regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada.
Regent Chairman Doug Seastrand said the Nevada system was forced to raise tuition because of the rising cost of higher education and reduced revenues for programs from the state.
"It's very similar to national trends in that the cost of higher education has gone up at the same time the amount of funding from the state continues to drop," Seastrand said. "It's now incumbent on us to have more of the cost passed on to students."
In March, regents approved a 15 percent tuition hike over the next two years for Nevada's four-year universities and a 7.7 percent increase over the next two years at its community colleges.
The cost of a Nevada four-year university is $2,370 a year in 2003 and $2,760 in 2004. The costs at Nevada community colleges will rise from $1,896 this year to $2,370 in 2003 and $2,760 in 2004.
Costs at four-year public universities nationwide rose 9.6 percent this academic year.
Krolicki's job as chairman of the Nevada Higher Education Tuition Fund Board is to predict costs 20 years out in some cases. The program lets a parent contract for enrollment at any accredited university, college or community college in the nation.