Ted Hoepner: Saving for college
Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 10:52 p.m.
I am reaching out to all the Florida families who are optimistic about the bold dreams of their children and grandchildren, even in today's troubled economic times.
Your family can still save safely and affordably for your children's future college education through good financial planning. Rather than agonizing about the rising costs of college, make it a priority to start saving today.
For 20 years, the Florida Prepaid College Plan has provided tax-free college savings, and more than 881,000 children have been enrolled by parents and grandparents. Florida has the most experience in managing its plan, and it is the largest and most successful prepaid college plan in the nation.
As you seriously contemplate your family budget and list your family's needs, remember to pencil in college savings. You can purchase a four-year university tuition plan for a newborn by spending about $3 a day.
Once you purchase a plan, you don't have to worry about rising tuition, because your costs are covered. Once a child is ready to attend college, the Prepaid College Plan covers tuition at Florida's 11 public universities and 28 community colleges (including the nine offering baccalaureate degrees).
Importantly, the plan's value may be transferred to private and out-of-state colleges.
Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp, at the 20th birthday celebration for the Prepaid College Plan, called it "one of the great successes of Florida." One out of 10 Florida children has a plan and more than 206,000 students with prepaid have gone to college. Incredibly, 18 percent of today's undergraduates at Florida's public universities are using prepaid benefits.
In Alachua County, 10,700 children have been enrolled in the Prepaid College Plan since 1988.
In the fall semester of 2007, the University of Florida received $9.7 million for its 8,957 students using prepaid benefits and Santa Fe College received $1.3 million for its 2,269 prepaid students.
I can assure you that the peace of mind that a Prepaid College Plan offers families is more valuable, in today's turbulent economic times, than ever.
The Prepaid College Plan is guaranteed by the State of Florida, so customers cannot lose their money.
Moreover, our trust fund remains financially sound and is not a drain on the state's problematic budget. Families can save for college knowing their investment in their children's future is secure.
We all have an interest in ensuring children have a chance to earn college diplomas and become productive members of society.
Recent studies conclude that students earning bachelor's degrees will increase their lifetime earnings on average by $1 million.
Please be aware that families must enroll by January 31 to receive current prices during Florida Prepaid College Plan's annual open enrollment. You can view all of our options and related information and enroll online at www.myfloridaprepaid.com.
Don't miss the chance to help your children or your grandchildren go to college. Help them maximize their potential and realize their dreams!
Ted Hoepner is chairman of the Florida Prepaid College Board.
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