Florida Prepaid just announced it is lowering plan prices by $1.3 billion, which will impact current plan holders who purchased plans in 2008 or later and new customers. Open Enrollment is now through April 30.
We sat down with Meredith Westheimer, Florida Prepaid College Plans Spokesperson, and Boca resident, to give us the scoop on the plans and what the lower prices mean for your wallet. She can also speak from personal experience as someone who had a plan in college and as a mom who has already purchased them for her children.
First, for our readers who might not know, what is Florida Prepaid?
Florida Prepaid is a state-backed college savings program where families can lock in future college tuition rates now for less. Essentially, you are pre-paying for college on a monthly basis to ensure your child’s tuition is covered.
Florida Prepaid was founded on a mission of helping more families find an affordable way to save for college. This mission is also about building a stronger Florida. The more students that can go to college – and graduate without debt – the more opportunities we can see created for future generations to find strong careers, and to live free of debt. This makes future generations more likely to buy houses, to start families, and to start building lives, which benefits the local economies of Florida. The average graduate with student loan debt in Florida owes about $24,000.
What does it mean that Prepaid Plan Prices are being reduced by $1.3 billion?
The Florida Prepaid Board closely monitors tuition inflation and its long-term obligations to pay for college. Due to successive years of lower than anticipated tuition and fee increases the Board determined it could go back and lower plan prices, without jeopardizing their ability to cover future college costs. The price reductions apply to plans purchased since 2008 and impact a total of 224,000 families by lowering their monthly payments, paying off plans earlier than expected, or providing refunds. Additionally, families who sign up this year will see the lowest plan prices in five years.
How does this price reduction make college more affordable for people living in Florida?
This year prices start as low as $44 – $174 a month for a newborn, depending on which plan you choose. With a Florida Prepaid Plan, you pick the plan that fits your savings goals and we handle the rest. We hope this price reduction will allow more families the opportunity to affordably save for college in a stress-free way.
Tell us about the different plans.
There are five different plans to choose from:
1-year Florida University Plan
4-year Florida University Plan (most popular)
2+2 Florida Plan (two years at a college and then two years at a university)
2-Year Florida College Plan
4-year Florida College Plan
One of my favorite insider tips is to get the whole family involved! Maybe mom and dad buy a year and then grandma and grandpa buy a year. The 1-year Florida University Plan can be stacked up. In addition, families can add on a dormitory package, if they’d like to pay for housing in advance.
Can this plan be used at other colleges and universities outside of Florida?
While Florida Prepaid Plans are designed to be used at Florida Colleges or State University, plans can be used at in-state, out-of-state, public or private colleges and universities around the country – or even the world. They can also be used at technical colleges. With your Florida Prepaid plan, the value we pay to other schools is the same as we would have paid to a Florida school.
This all sounds great. How can we sign up?
Parents can enroll online in less than 15 minutes at myfloridaprepaid.com. Open enrollment ends April 30.