Partnership promotes value of early education, early college saving for 170,000 families
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Prepaid College Board today launched a statewide education initiative in partnership with Early Learning Coalitions from Miami to the Panhandle, in an effort to educate Florida families about the values of early education and saving early for college.
The first-of-its-kind partnership begins this week through the distribution of academic calendars that feature learning resources and college savings information for the approximately 170,000 families enrolled in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) centers across the state. Florida Prepaid and the Early Learning Coalitions also will attend literacy events and Children’s Week celebrations throughout the year to meet with families and provide more information about savings options that meet varying household budgets and needs.
“We are so pleased to work with the Early Learning Coalitions on the Cradle to College™ initiative,” said Board Chairman Duane Ottenstroer. “This is a chance for us to provide important college savings information to the families who have already expressed a commitment to giving their children a head start on their education.”
According to research by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, saving for college leads to greater college success. Their study found that children with $1 to $499 designated for school are 2.5 times more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than children with no savings. A 2013 report from the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas found that children from minority or low-income families with as little as $500 in savings for college are three times more likely to attend school and four times more likely to graduate than their peers.
The Cradle to College™ initiative comes on the heels of historic Florida Prepaid tuition plan sales during the 2014-15 Open Enrollment period, when families purchased more than 42,000 Prepaid Tuition Plans.
“We are very excited to add our Early Learning Reading Initiatives to the Cradle to College™ program,” said Howard Veltz, Chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County, on behalf of the Association of Early Learning Coalitions. “With the Association’s focus on the early years, and the Florida Prepaid College Board focused on the end result, great things will happen. Together, we will make a dramatic difference in the education of all Florida children.”
Early Learning Coalition executive directors from around the state will celebrate the Cradle to College™ initiative on Sept. 18 in Orlando, during an annual meeting of the Early Learning Advisory Council. Open Enrollment, which is the only time each year when families can purchase the Prepaid Plans, is set to begin October 15. For more information, go to myfloridaprepaid.com.
About the Florida Prepaid College Board
The Florida Prepaid College Board manages the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program and the Florida 529 Savings Plan. Both are tax-favored 529 college savings plans authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. In 1987 the Florida Prepaid College Program was created by the Florida Legislature and the commitment and dedication of Mr. Stanley G. Tate to provide Florida families with an affordable means to save for their children’s future college education. The first Florida Prepaid College Plans were sold in 1988, and were augmented with the addition of the Florida 529 Savings Plan in 2002. Florida Prepaid is the largest, longest running and most successful prepaid plan in the nation with more than 1.75 million Florida Prepaid College Plans purchased to date. As of July 31, 2015, the Florida 529 Savings Plan had more than 46,000 active accounts with a market value of more than $423 million.