Press Release: Florida Prepaid Kicks Off Historic Open Enrollment Period

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Families will see up to 50 percent lower plan prices, new 1-Year University Plan, waived application fee, and ‘Starting is Believing’ campaign to empower college savings choices

#StartingisBelieving

Tallahassee , FL – The Florida Prepaid College Board kicks off a historic Open Enrollment period today, marked by the new ‘Starting is Believing’ campaign that encourages families to take advantage of the most affordable Florida Prepaid College Plans since 2007.

Prices of the most popular Prepaid Plans are up to 50 percent lower than last year and the new 1-Year Florida University Plan starts at only $43 a month. All Prepaid Plans now start at less than $175 a month, including two that start for less than $50 a month. And through Dec. 31, 2014, Florida Prepaid is waiving the application fee for newly opened plans.

“This year’s Open Enrollment period is unlike any we have seen in recent years, and we encourage families to take advantage of these historically low prices,” said Board Chairman Duane Ottenstroer. “The affordable prices and new plan options provide Florida families with more opportunities to save for their children’s education. This is truly the best time to start saving.”

In celebration of the historic price reductions and launch of the new 1-Year Florida University Plan, application fees will be waived for all Prepaid Plans purchased through Dec. 31, 2014. That means new customers will save $50, and existing customers who open an additional plan will save $10. And no matter when the Prepaid Plan is purchased during the Oct. 15 – Feb. 28 Open Enrollment period, the first payment is not due until April 20, 2015.

The significant price reduction is the first ever in the history of Florida Prepaid and is the result of a new state law that helps control future costs at State Universities in Florida. This year, families can purchase a 4-Year Florida University Plan without any change in plan coverage for as low as $173 a month or a 2 + 2 Florida Plan for as low as $136 a month. These prices reflect up to a 50 percent decrease from last year.  Through Feb. 28, 2015, parents can purchase a Florida Prepaid College Plan to prepay higher education costs at these current plan prices.

For the first time ever, the Board is also offering a new 1-Year Florida University Plan which allows families to purchase up to four years at a state university in one-year increments as their budgets afford them. The 1-Year Florida University Plan starts as low as $43 per month and covers 30 credit hours. The plan is meant to allow families to save for college gradually in a way that is more affordable, and to allow relatives to share in the cost of a child’s college education by each purchasing one of the four years needed to earn a degree.

Studies show students with even moderate college savings are more likely to attend college and graduate. 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 still three times more likely to attend school and four times more likely to graduate than their peers.

Facts like these prompted Florida Prepaid to develop Starting is Believing, the new campaign launched today to encourage and empower parents to take the first step toward saving for college today. Through our website, social media, outreach events and advertising we hope to make college savings seem less daunting and drive home the importance of college savings. In turn, we hope this will significantly increase the number of Florida families saving for college.

“The research tells us that college savings really can help determine a child’s path after high school, and our Board is committed to our founding mission of helping Florida families understand the importance of investing in education and making it is easy to do so,” said Board Executive Director Kevin Thompson. “The Starting is Believing campaign is all about empowering families to start those savings plans.”

Families can select one of five Prepaid Plans, including the new 1-Year Florida University Plan, all of which will cover tuition and most mandatory fees at one of Florida’s 12 State Universities and/or 28 Colleges. Prepaid Plan options include:

  • 2-Year Florida College Plan: Covers tuition and most fees for 60 credit hours at a Florida College.
  • 4-Year Florida College Plan: Covers tuition and most fees for 120 credit hours at a Florida College.
  • 2 + 2 Florida Plan: Covers tuition and most fees for 60 credit hours at a Florida College and for 60 credit hours at a State University.
  • 1-Year Florida University Plan: Covers tuition and most fees for 30 credit hours at a State University.
  • 4-Year Florida University Plan: Covers tuition and most fees for 120 credit hours at a State University.

Many people do not realize how flexible a Prepaid Plan is. While designed for use at a Florida College or State University, the amount covered by the plan can be applied to schools nationwide, as well as a technical school or a private educational institution. In addition, Prepaid Plan benefits can be used alongside any scholarships to cover costs other than just tuition and fees. If the scholarship covers all costs, families can receive a refund equal to what would have been paid to the school or transfer their plan to another family member.

The Florida Prepaid College Plan remains financially sound and is guaranteed by the state of Florida. With a Prepaid Plan, families cannot lose their investment. To qualify for a plan, the child or the child’s parent/guardian must be a Florida resident. Parents, grandparents and friends can purchase a plan.

For more information on plan options and prices, and to purchase a plan, visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com. Customer service hours will be extended during Open Enrollment, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and they can be reached at 800.552.GRAD (4723).

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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 1.6 million Florida Prepaid College Plans purchased and more than $6.7 billion invested in Prepaid Plans by Florida families. The 529 Savings Plan has more than 35,000 active accounts with a market value of more than $375 million.