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College will cost you. Waiting will cost you more.

bachelorsdegree_revYou’re a new parent, or you’re about to become one. It’s an exciting journey, and one filled with questions. For instance—how am I going to pay for this little bundle of joy’s college education one day? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Florida Prepaid College Board has helped parents to save for their children’s college education for more than 25 years, and today we’re ready to help you as well. Since you’re starting early, you’re already ahead of the game. Just review our Florida 529 Savings Plan and Florida Prepaid College Plan to determine whether one or both is right for you, sign up and you’re on your way toward providing a wonderful future for your little one.

Education Pays

One thing is for certain, education pays. Today, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $23,700 more a year 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. It’s also projected that by 2020, 65% of jobs in Florida will require postsecondary education.

Getting Started

Figuring out where to start when it comes to saving for college can sometimes be intimidating. So let’s start with the basics. 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. Designed specifically for college savings, earnings on 529 plans are tax-free as long as they are spent on qualified higher education expenses (e.g., tuition, fees, books, housing). There are two types of 529 Plans – Savings and Prepaid, and we offer both types of plans. It’s also okay if you own both types of plans.

Choices for College Savings

With our Florida 529 Savings Plan, you basically set your own college savings goals and contribution amounts. There are tools on our website to help you figure out how much you should save based on future costs. You can contribute as much and as often as you like, monthly, annually or whatever works for your family. You can even stop contributing at any point without penalty, but the more you save and the earlier you save, the better chance you have of reaching your savings goals.

coverexpenseWith this plan you get to choose from our 11 investment options – one of which is an age-based option that automatically allocates and diversifies contributions based on the age of your child. So don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert investor to choose the Florida 529 Savings Plan, and our website you will find much more information on our different investment options. One thing important to note is that with the Florida 529 Savings Plan the value of your savings is subject to market fluctuations.

With our Florida Prepaid College Plan, you pay for future tuition and fees at the current plan price. You have five plans to choose from, and all of our Prepaid Plans are guaranteed by the State of Florida. Here are several other key features of the plans:

So now you know the basics. What’s next?

The short answer is to start saving now with a Florida 529 Savings Plan and/or a Florida Prepaid College Plan. Our Florida 529 Savings Plan has been ranked among the best performing college savings plans by both Morningstar and SavingforCollege.com. Also, our Florida Prepaid College Program is the largest, most successful and longest-running prepaid program in the nation.

Keep in mind, the sooner you start saving the lower your monthly payments will be and the greater your chances of having your child graduate free from student loan debt. And most importantly—you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve helped position your child for success in life by providing for their college education. To find out more information about our plans, check out Choose.

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