There’s been a lot of talk lately about the rising cost of college education. Since 1985 the cost of college has increased 538%– more than twice as fast as medical costs (262%) or gasoline (200%). As you might expect, this has led some to question whether a college education is really “worth it” in the long run. The short answer to that question is—yes.
Education Pays: Today, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $22,000 a year more than those with only a high school diploma. In fact, a recent Georgetown University study estimates that a student with a bachelor’s degree can earn $1.6 million more in their lifetime than a student with only a high school diploma.
Higher Employment: It's projected that by 2018, 45% of US jobs will require a degree. In 2012, the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders was 4.5%. For those with only a high school diploma, it was 8.3%.
Though future college costs are uncertain, you are doing a smart thing by planning ahead, and there are several important reasons why you should start saving today:
Peace of Mind: Knowing that your child will have something set aside can help you avoid the stress that others experience when high school graduation is imminent and they find themselves unprepared.
Avoiding Debt: Student loans are now the #2 source of debt in America, behind only mortgages. Planning now will help your child to begin life after college without this burden, effectively jump-starting their career.
Time: The earlier you start saving, the more opportunity you have to spread your payments and lower the monthly contribution necessary to reach your savings goals.
You can save for college any way you choose, including hiding money under your mattress. However, there are some distinct advantages of using what are commonly referred to as "529 Plans" to save for college.
The name "529 Plans" comes from Section 529 of the IRS code. There are two types of 529 Plans – Savings and Prepaid, and we offer both.
With our Savings Plan, you basically set your own college savings goals and contribution amounts. You then get to choose from investment options when you make contributions to your savings plan. It’s important to note that the value of your savings plan is subject to market fluctuations.
With our Prepaid Plan, you pay for future tuition and fees at the current price of the plan that you select. Our Prepaid plans are guaranteed by the state of Florida.
You can do either one, or choose both types of plans for your college savings. Here are a few important reasons to consider our 529 Plans:
Federal Tax Benefits: Earnings on 529 plans are tax-free as long as they are spent on qualified higher education expenses.
Affordable: We have plans that can fit any budget.
Flexible: The value of the plans can be applied nationwide and the value remains intact for you to use even if your child gets a scholarship or moves.
Total Control: You, the account owner, retain full control of how the funds are spent throughout the life of the plan. So you know it’s spent on education not, say, concert tickets.
Ease of Use: 529 plans practically run themselves. Just sign up and follow your contribution or payment schedule.
529 plans have helped millions of Americans to afford college. And today, as education costs continue to rise at unprecedented rates, the Florida 529 Savings Plan and Florida Prepaid College Plans are looking better all the time.
Trust. For more than 25 years, the Florida Prepaid College Board has provided families with financially sound options to help save for college.
Our Prepaid Plan is the largest, most successful and longest-running prepaid program in the nation. Nearly one out of every 10 children in Florida from newborn to high-school age has a Florida Prepaid Plan. Our Prepaid Plan is - and always has been - financially sound. It is also guaranteed by the State of Florida.
While we may be best known for our Prepaid Plan, our Savings Plan is just as important to us. We carefully select each of the investment management firms and constantly monitor their performance. Our plan has been ranked among the best-performing college savings plans by both Morningstar and SavingforCollege.com.
With this in mind, we invite you to look through the customer types on this page, determine which one best applies to you and start learning more about both our Florida 529 Savings Plan and Florida Prepaid College Plans today.
When you have a kid, everyone says "it goes by so fast," and they're right. But when you're talking about college savings, time is on your side when you start early.
You didn't have the financial ability. You weren't sure how to invest. Or, it just simply slipped your mind. No matter what the reason is why you haven't started saving for your child's college education, we have good news—there's still time to save.
If you have a grandchild, nephew, cousin or close friend's child you're interested in helping save for college, good for you. Even if you can't contribute 100% of college costs for your friend or family member, every little bit helps.
It's time for you to cash in your Florida 529 Savings Plan or Prepaid Plan and start your journey toward a degree. Great, but I’m sure you have a few questions on how to use your plan, right?