MIAMI (CBS4) — If you’re one of the thousands of parents who want to buy a Florida Prepaid College plan before the prices go up again, you only have until 11:59 p.m. Monday to enroll. The program doesn’t open again until October when next year’s plans are released.
The cost of paying for college at Florida public universities has been on the rise recently and that includes the cost of prepaying for college.
This year, the cost of a prepaid tuition plan for four years’ tuition and fees costs about $45,000 for a newborn, which is more than double the price tag two years ago. The plan can be paid in installments of about $850 a month for five years or $280 a month until the child goes to college. But that’s not all. This price doesn’t even include books, meals, housing and other student expenses.
“It’s a little steep, very expensive,” says Alexandra Beckers who would have to spend $85,000 to sign up her three and four year old daughters. “I’d rather get them in a mutual fund. So they can do whatever they want.”
But Becker’s sister Nadine did sign up her seven month old daughter Mia online Sunday night, even though she calls the cost, “crazy.”
“Education is important. Without it, good luck finding a job,” she says.
The plan used to cost about the same as the current four year price tag for a university degree. But that was when the state raised tuition about five percent a year.
For instance, Deanna Sachs enrolled her 11 year-old son in Florida’s prepaid college plan in 2005. Her cost was $11,000.
“I thought it was a great deal. By the time a child graduates from high school the prices will be way up for tuition I figured.”
Now Sachs is relieved she signed up when she did. The current costs would be out of the question.
Plantation financial advisor Benjamin Tobias says “I would tell parents, let the deadline go by.”
Tobias says the state is “anticipating the cost will go higher than it will. My expectation is they are being too aggressive in what they think the cost will be.”
Instead Tobias recommends parents examine Florida’s 529 savings/investment plan.
“You put your money in and when you take it out for education purposes, there is no tax on it,”
Tuition is expected to increase 15 percent a year for the next ten years.
There are other less expensive plans. You can buy two years of tuition a community college or join the 2+2 plan that covers two years at a community college followed by two at a state university.
For more information or to enroll, go to http://www.myfloridaprepaid.com or call 1-800-552-4723.