This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
In four years, Audrey has already had three very different school experiences.
- From 12 weeks to about 2.5 years old, she attended a full-time daycare program with several hundred kids, all grouped by age and with fairly structured hourly blocks of lesson time
- From 2.5 to 3.5 years old, she attended a full-time daycare program with several dozen kids and with fairly unstructured blocks of lesson time
- From 3.5 on, she’s been attending a Montessori program, where she shares a classroom with kids between the ages of 3 and 6, in a very different learning experience (see this website for more details)
Remy, on the other hand, has not yet spent a single day in school and in part because of waiting lists and in part because I’ve just really enjoyed having her home with me, won’t step into her own Montessori room until she’s nearly 2 years old.
We’ve been very lucky to have had options at every turn. Sure, each choice has required some concessions — whether in weekly fees, curriculum offered, available hours or something else — and I still struggle every day with being a working mom in many ways.
But we’ve been able to make these choices in large part because we’ve scrimped and saved and planned and sacrificed. That’s something we’re already letting the girls know. That we’ll invest in them and their futures, and we encourage them to do the same. But they will get to make the ultimate choice about what they do with their educations. And we’ll expect them to honor our investment by taking it seriously and spending it wisely.
It’s amazing to me how many students (and parents!) are forced into debt that will follow them for years beyond college or university, especially when many of them truly don’t know what they want to do or who they want to be until the very end of the journey.
The national average costs of one year of college in 2017 dollars ranges from $12,970 to $57,560, according to a study from The College Board.
One of the most compelling tools on the Florida Prepaid website — and one I used when determining which plans to invest in for our family — is the College Savings Planner.
Enter your child’s current age, any lump-sum contributions you plan on making, your monthly contribution, the type of college you think she may go to (public or private, 2-year or 4-year, etc.) and the calculator will give you an estimated total cost of that education, plus the amount you’ll need to save each month to cover the costs (and what the shortfall will be if you don’t).
Additionally, you can read all about the cost of waiting.
If you’re in Florida, you can enroll your child or children through February 28, 2017, but then the open enrollment period ends. Plans start at less than $47 a month and the money saved can be used toward:
- 1-Year Florida University
- 2-Year Florida College Plan
- 4-Year Florida College Plan
- 2+2 Florida College Plan
- 4-Year Florida University Plan
If you use the promo code BLOG1617, you’ll save 50% on the application, which is money you can deposit right into the savings plan.
So, make 2017 the year that you commit to putting away some savings for your kids’ future (and in turn, your own). It’s never too late to stay and every dollar counts!