This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
I have one little girl and one on the way. I’m doing everything I can to raise them to be strong but kind; smart but willing to keep open minds; happy but appreciative for what they have in this lifetime.
It’s hard. Every day is hard, even when you’re making small decisions about what to feed them, how to discipline and trying to be a great role model when some days, you’re just barely keeping it together.
College planning? Hard doesn’t even scratch the surface. My husband and I have been discussing the “what the heck do we do?” question for years, going back to before-babies, and it’s still a headline in our discussions today.
When I was younger, my parents told me to work hard and that when it was time to pick a college and a major, they’d do everything they could to make it happen. It was so freeing; to know that I could do and be whatever I wanted in life gave me more confidence than I’ll ever be able to express. And I took advantage: enrolling at a very expensive, out-of-state private university, where I graduated with a dual major.
Frankly, I don’t know how they pulled it off.
On my other blog, I shared a pretty candid post about what I would do differently when it comes to my own college experience. The summary: I loved college and wouldn’t trade my time there for anything in the world but in hindsight, I think many kids may be better served by going to public or community schools to save money, or even deferring their enrollment until they’re truly ready.
And that’s something both of my kids will know. That if they choose a less traditional career path or want to take a gap year (or two) before starting college, they’ll have my blessing. I just want them to be happy and fulfilled.
So, that’s their job. Mine, just like it became the job of my parents 35+ years ago, is to figure out how to make those dreams come true.
I’m really excited to be working with Florida Prepaid. We’re just about to start the Open Enrollment period for families who want to start new plans for their children’s college savings (it begins on October 15, 2015), so it’s a great time to look into the different options:
- 1-Year Florida University Plan
- 2-Year Florida College Plan
- 4-Year Florida College Plan
- 4-Year Florida University Plan
- 2+2 Florida Plan
And on top of that, you have the option to start a Florida 529 Savings Plan.
(The easiest way to understand the different between a prepaid plan and a savings plan is to just trust in the titles: with the savings plan, you contribute to a college savings account through a variety of different investment options and can start at any time. With the prepaid plans, you prepay tuition and fees at a Florida College or State University at current plan prices and can start a new account during the Fall/Winter Open Enrollment Period only. Also, the Florida 529 Savings Plan is subject to fluctuations in the financial markets, while the Florida Prepaid College Plan is guaranteed by the State of Florida.)
I can’t recommend the Interactive Conversation highly enough — it will help you learn even more about the Florida 529 Savings Plan and Florida Prepaid College Plans and is super easy to follow. Plus, it has fun cartoons.
Each prepaid plan has some really interesting benefits. With the 1-year University plan, you can have multiple “team members” contribute, and a student may have up to four 1-year plans. So Grammy can buy freshman year, Mom and Dad can take on sophomore and junior years, and that just leaves one year to cover with other funds.
With the 2+2 plan, a student starts off at one of the state’s 28 Florida Colleges (formerly Community Colleges) and can knock out some lower-level courses before transferring to a State University to finish off their degree. (Students with this plan are guaranteed admission to a State University once they’ve earned their associate’s degree at a Florida College — um, awesome!)
These plans can allow families to prepay not only the cost of tuition, but required fees and dormitory housing, and it’s all totally protected. If your kid goes to any Florida College or State University, the money transfers right over. If your child attends an out-of-state college or private college, the plan will pay the same amount as it would pay at a public college or university in Florida.
It’s fully guaranteed by the state of Florida, so you can’t lose your investment. And you can transfer your plan to another family member or even cancel the plan for a full refund. You do need to be a Florida resident to get a prepaid plan, but if you or your child moves out of state, the plan doesn’t change at all.
As while Prepaid Plans are designed to be used at a Florida College or State University, the plan can also be applied at other schools nationwide.
Saving for college is terrifying, right? Having a plan can help. That’s why I’m hoping that my Florida friends will take a look at Myfloridaprepaid.com, and NOW. The open enrollment period is the only time you can lock in the lowest prices and start a new plan.
If like me, for example, you are pricing for a newborn, the monthly rates are:
- 4-year Florida University Plan: $182.63
- 1-year Florida University Plan: $45.69
- 2 + 2 Florida Plan: $144.35
- 4-year College Plan: $114.69
- 2-year College Plan: $53.13
So there’s quite a bit of flexibility. Questions? Remember to head to myfloridaprepaid.com.