Florida Prepaid Celebrates 25 Years of College Savings

On September 24th, 2013, at the Florida Capitol Building, the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program was issued an official Cabinet Resolution in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Florida Prepaid College Plans. Commenced at the Florida Cabinet meeting with an address from Governor Rick Scott and Florida Cabinet members, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, the program was recognized for its quarter century of making saving for higher education more affordable and secure for Floridians.

Governor Rick Scott said, “For 25 years, the Florida Prepaid College Program has worked to provide more opportunities to Florida families, so students have the tools they need to pursue their dreams. For some time I have asked our universities to keep college affordable for families, so students can graduate without being saddled by mountains of debt. Recently, I was proud to announce that Florida Prepaid College Board was able to decrease their tuition inflation assumption for the next three years, which means we’re making progress in making college affordable for families. More than 350,000 Florida students have had the opportunity to attend college thanks to the savings provided by this program. We’ll continue to work with the legislature and education leaders to ensure we keep higher education affordable for families.”

Mr. Stanley G. Tate, the driving force behind the creation of the Florida Prepaid College Board and Chairman of the Board for the first 18 years, was also present for the Resolution. While Tate served as Chairman of the Board, more than 1 million total contracts were sold with more than 142,000 children using their plan benefits. Tate reflected on the last 25 years and shared insight into his vision.

“In the 25 years since the first plan was purchased, Florida Prepaid has worked to create an affordable means for Florida families, particularly low and moderate income families, to save for their children’s college education,” said Tate. “I thank the Governor and Cabinet for recognizing this historic milestone and their commitment to making college affordable.”

Plan one and two were for Governor Bob Martinez’s twin granddaughters, 4-Year University Plans that the girls used to attend the University of South Florida. More than 1.6 million plans later, the Florida Prepaid College Program is the largest, most successful and longest continuously operating prepaid program in the nation. Florida families have invested more than $6.7 billion to fund their prepaid plan. Since it’s inception, 350,000 students have attended college using prepaid benefits, not including the more than 100,000 that are in school this semester.

Governor Bob Martinez, who signed the legislation into law, said, “The value earned from a Florida Prepaid Plan was one that my wife and I could not overlook,” said Martinez. “The variety of plans, flexibility of payment and overall peace of mind provided by the fact the funds are secure and guaranteed by the state, sets the program apart from any prepaid plan of its kind and is the reason behind its success. Florida led the nation in developing this concept and I’m proud to have been part of this success story.”

Following the Cabinet Meeting, Florida Prepaid Alumni were invited to a reception held on the 22nd floor of the Capitol, where the opportunity was available to meet and share testimonials with Mr. Tate and other integral Florida Prepaid Program figures, including current Florida Prepaid College Board Chairman Duane Ottenstroer and Executive Director Kevin Thompson.

“I’m thrilled at the progress made by the Florida Prepaid College Program, not only for Florida education, but for our state as a whole,” said Florida Prepaid College Board Chairman Duane Ottenstroer. “This presentation is a distinguished recognition from our states’ leaders and decision makers and couldn’t be more timely with September being national College Savings Month.”