Open enrollment in the Florida Prepaid College plans begins October 15th, 2015 and offers some new options for families who want to get started saving money for their children’s futures.
This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger.
As parents we have big dreams and expectations for our children when they get older. We want them to be happy, confident, accomplished, and have more opportunities than what we had ourselves. My parents provided for us everything we could have asked for. The one thing that they didn’t provide for us was any type of college savings. They were very clear as we were growing up that if we wanted something bad enough, we would work hard for it and achieve our goals on our own. They didn’t want to force higher education on us like their parents did to them. I can respect that and I know that they helped mold me into the adult that I am today. I don’t remember ever asking them for help paying for anything after I moved out, I just made things work. I learned the hard way sometimes how to budget and save money. I built up a lot of debt in college (from college loans to credit card debt) and had to work hard following college to pay off that debt. It wasn’t an easy road, but I’m thankful that I was able to do it on our own. I put a LOT of this on my husband’s efforts because he was really the one who taught me to use credit cards wisely and help me get that debt under control.
We took our time getting started with a college savings for our own children, but finally started their Florida Prepaid College and 529 Savings Plans a few years back. We knew it was something that we wanted to offer our children so that they wouldn’t have to work and go to school at the same time (unless they wanted to). Getting started was the hard part, there are so many different options and we just didn’t know which plan was going to be right for us. Once we finally took the time to sit down and research the different Prepaid Plans it was clear to us which plan would fit our goals for our children. Some of the decision was also based on what we could afford to add to a savings plan each month, with two children we need to have enough built up for both of them to have the same opportunities.
Different Prepaid Plan Options:
- 1-Year Florida University Plan (new this year)
- 2-Year Florida College Plan
- 4-Year Florida College Plan
- 2+2 Florida College Plan
- 4-Year Florida University Plan
We decided to sign both kids up for the 2-Year Florida College Plan. This will save enough money for both kids to attend 2 full years at one of the 28 Florida Colleges (like St Pete College down the street from our house). Even if they decide to go to a school outside of Florida, the entire value of the plan can be applied at any university or college nationwide. If they are lucky enough to receive a scholarship (like Bright Futures), the amount covered by the savings plan can be refunded or transferred to another family member. If our son doesn’t use his plan, we can use it for our daughter. Plus they have up to 10 years after graduating high school to use the savings plan, so if they decide to work or travel before going to college they still have the option to use their savings plan.
In addition, we started a 529 Savings Plan so that we can set aside a little extra money when it’s available without being tied to a large monthly deduction. When we get a little overtime, bonuses, or when the kids receive large gifts from grandparents we can add that money to their 529 Plans.
I only have 4-5 years until my oldest starts college! This year he’s started to take an extra online course to begin earning high school credits. If he stays on track, he may be able to complete part of his first year of college while still enrolled in high school. That will stretch his college savings plan even further! There are six years between our children so hopefully we’ll have some time to recover before our daughter starts college, plus we started her plan much sooner than we did his. Since she currently wants to be a vet, we have a lot of money to save before she starts college!!
It’s never too early or too late to start saving! You can start a college savings plan as soon as your child is born or anytime before they start college. The earlier you start, the less you’ll have to invest each month. Plans start as low as $46 a month. Open enrollment period to the Florida Prepaid College Plans are from October 15, 2015 – February 29th, 2016. Start doing your research now and set up a reminder on your phone to sign up on October 15th!
Have you started a savings account for your kids yet? Why or why not?
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