The Florida Prepaid College Plan is a state-guaranteed program meant to help families in paying for their children’s education at public colleges and universities by locking in the cost of tuition from that year the prepaid plan was purchased.
A Florida Prepaid Plan can be opened by all individuals 18 years old or older. Applicants need to be U.S. citizens or legal U.S. residents who are holding valid Social Security numbers.
Applicants may enroll at any time. At the start of the Plan’s annual Open Enrollment period, the new pricing will be announced. Applicants that enroll outside of this Open Enrollment period will receive relevant pricing information at the time the next Open Enrollment period starts.
After graduating from high school, a student will have up to 10 years to use it for the intended purpose either for in-state college education or out-of-state education.
Today, new plan holders in the Florida Prepaid College Plan see the lowest prices in years. The college tuition plans received a price cut worth $1.3 billion and thousands of participants receive or have already received a refund.
Plan holders can transfer these refunds to a Florida Prepaid savings account to pay for other college expenses such as room and board, books, or supplies. Florida’s University Dormitory Plans have not been affected by the state’s price reductions.
There are 2- and 4-year college and university plans. Just select the plan that fits your family’s savings goals and budget best. College plans can be used for an education at a university, and university plans can be used for a college education. Under a plan, each situation’s value is pro-rated.
Under the Florida Prepaid College Plan, a student’s tuition cost is financially guaranteed and secured by the State of Florida. It is designed for Florida colleges and universities but can be used to pay for tuition and fees at most educational institutions across the nation.
What if you move out of Florida?
Your Florida Prepaid College Plan travels with you. The same amount will be paid as at a public university or college in Florida. And remember, if your child will return to a Florida college, s/he qualifies for in-state tuition under the Plan.
Under the Plan, the actual future cost of college will be paid, even if that is higher than the cost that was projected. The benefit you’ll receive from your plan will not be less than the price you’ve paid for it. You just cannot lose any money.
How does it work?
Under the Florida Prepaid College Plan, prices for your children’s college education are actually lower than what a future college education is expected to cost. For our selection of Florida Top Universities, go to this page.
The payments that you contribute to the Plan are invested under the supervision of the Florida Prepaid College Board to compensate for the difference. Actuaries are estimating estimate future in-state college tuition costs and fees and anticipated inflation while using historical patterns.
If your child doesn’t go to college, keep in mind that your Plan can be transferred to other family members and if that doesn’t apply, your contributions may also be refunded.
If your child receives a scholarship, you can use your Prepaid Plan to cover additional college costs, for example, to pay for grad school. You may also get a refund for what would have been paid out under your plan which you can use the refund to cover the costs of housing or supplies, for example.
If you already have a 529 Savings Plan, keep in mind that it actually is a good strategy to have both plans to cover all costs students will encounter in college. These range from tuition and fees to books, dorms, equipment, and meal plans.
Coverage and Cost
Students can have up to 120 hours of tuition and various other fees covered in the Plan and maximally eight semesters of dorm costs.
To open a Florida Prepaid Plan, a $50 application fee applies for each enrollment period and there’s also a $10 fee if you want to add supplemental coverage, for example, a Dorm Plan. This $10 fee will be waived, however, for families purchasing a new Prepaid Plan.
The Florida Prepaid Plan does not guarantee admission to a university or college. Each individual student is responsible to qualify for and getting admitted to the school of his/her choice.
Florida law, however, guarantees students admission to one of Florida’s State Universities when they have earned an associate’s degree from a publicly funded Florida College. The 2 + 2 Florida Prepaid Plan is specifically designed for students looking to pursue this undergraduate path.
Families may cancel their Florida Prepaid Plans for any reason and at any time they wish. They may request refunds that are equal to the payments they made, but, of course, less some administrative fees.
What can it be used for?
A Florida Prepaid Plan can be used for expenses during any academic semester including a summer term that starts after your child’s projected college enrollment year which is usually the year your child is expected to graduate from high school.
When your child graduates early, you should inform the Florida Prepaid College Board so your plan can be modified for early usage. In that case, parents are advised to inform the organization at least 6 months prior to your child’s enrollment in college. Keep in mind that there are 28 colleges working in the Florida Public College System and that in-state tuition is considerably lower than what out-of-state students will need to pay.
The Florida College Prepaid Plan provides multiple options to pay for your child’s college education. Let’s take a look at the most popular options:
- The 1-Year Florida University Plan – This option allows a family to buy 1-year education at one of Florida’s State Universities. This applies up to four years and this option starts at $44.28 per month.
- The 2-Year Florida College Plan – This provides an affordable option for earning an AA degree from one of Florida’s public colleges and subsequently, guaranteed admission to a Florida State University. This option starts at $52.65 per month.
- The 4-Year Florida College Plan – This enables your child to earn a bachelor’s degree in high-demand fields from a State College in Florida. This plan starts at $113.63 per month.
- The 2 + 2 Florida Plan – This option gives you the best of both worlds. This allows you to save on lower-level academic courses and later transfer to a Florida State University to earn a bachelor’s degree. This option starts at $141.97 per month.
- The 4-Year Florida University Plan – This option offers you the widest variety to earn a bachelor’s degree one of the 12 State Universities in Florida. This plan option starts at $176.97 per month.
Florida recently passed legislation to reduce the cost of prepaid college plans. For example, the current rates start at $44 per month for a 1-year Florida University Plan for newborns compared to $47 per month in 2019. Take also a look at this page about Florida Scholarships and you should also check the Florida Prepaid College Board’s website for actual costs.
The Plan’s History
The Florida College Prepaid Plan has been serving Florida residents for almost thirty years. So for almost three decades, the Florida Prepaid College Board has been overseeing the most successful and largest prepaid program.
It all started with Stanley G. Tate who in 1987 was fighting to put a college education within the reach of average Florida family. He decided on the Florida Prepaid College Program to accomplish his goals.
He championed this college savings program tirelessly until in 1988, on Sept. 22, the twin granddaughters of Florida Governor Robert (Bob) Martinez, the first Governor of Spanish descent in Florida, became the first beneficiaries.
The program was very popular and has been self-supporting since it was set up and in 2002, the Florida 529 Savings Plan was added as well which offered Florida families even more options and flexibility to save for their children’s college education.
In the nearly 30 years of existence, almost 1.9 million Florida Prepaid Plans were purchased and over 450,000 students were able to go to college thanks to the College Prepaid Plan.
The Florida Prepaid College Board also oversees the Florida 529 Savings Plan and Stanley Tate’s legacy continues to live on through this great program that enables so many the children to attend college year after year.
Last Updated on May 13, 2020