Grandmother: Prepaid is one of Florida’s top accomplishments


More than 20 years ago, Sonya Malnik made a big investment into two tiny people. Her granddaughters, Jacqueline and Alexandra, were just infants — too young to know their alphabet, much less think about what they might major in one day.

But Malnik dared to set big goals for their future. She purchased Florida Prepaid Plans for both girls.

“It was not that expensive, and education was very important to me and my husband, who had died a few years before,” Malnik said. “It was a very good idea.”

Alexandra has graduated from college using her Prepaid Plan and now works in sales for the Orlando Magic basketball team. Her granddaughter Jacqueline Lieberman is a senior at Florida State University majoring in public relations, and she’ll graduate in a few months in an enviable position: free of student loans.

“I was literally just group chatting my parents, saying, ‘Thank you,’” Lieberman said. “It feels really, really great.”

Malnik’s contribution didn’t cover the full financial burden of college for Lieberman, but it didn’t have to. Lieberman’s parents have paid for her room and board, and Lieberman has worked through college — parlaying an internship at a public relations firm into a part-time job there.

But the foundation for her higher education was set with that big gift of tuition from Malnik. Lieberman says her grandmother “is literally the best person in the world.”

“Education is really important to my family, even my grandparents,” Lieberman said. “I really never thought twice about not going to college.”

All these years later, Malnik remains a passionate believer in Florida Prepaid, calling it “one of the best things that the state of Florida ever did.” It’s no surprise, then, that she encourages other grandparents to consider how they can use their resources to bless their grandchildren.

“I would think it’s the best thing they can do for their grandchildren,” she said. “It’s the best gift you could ever give them. Forget about toys!”

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