This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
Have you visited a local organic farm?
When I visited four of them as part of a regional “farm tour,” I was reminded of several principles that it is easy to lose sight of, like respecting the time it takes to grow something nutritious.
This is Philip, who hosted our tour of Orchard Pond Organics:
Philip was no run-of-the-mill tour guide. He was a captivating combination of farmer and philosopher, emphasizing life truths like, “when a crop fails it isn’t bad as long as we learn something from it [true].”
The Fish Story
One local partnership Philip mentioned was the farm’s relationship with Southern Seafood Market, a local business.
Philip: “We get fish from there.”
Me (in my head): Hm, Okay.
Philip: And then it sits for a year.
Me (still in my head): That’s a long time.
Philip: And then it makes for one incredible fertilizer.
Me (internally, as a mental light bulb goes off): AHHHHH.
Nurturing a Child’s Educational Options Takes Time
We all have high hopes for our children’s educational future when they are born.
Bringing these hopes to life involves planning on our part. That freshman year seems to arrive so rapidly, after we’ve barely put away the grade school mementoes and cheered for that final grade school ball game/band concert/art display.
Like the fish at Orchard Pond Organics, we have to invest …. and wait.
This is Where Florida Prepaid Comes In
Florida Prepaid offers two options to save money to make it possible for a child in your life to go to college, with the funds being tax-free as long as they are spent on qualified costs like tuition and fees: prepaid and savings.
There are five pre-paid plans, each with specific costs, payment schedules and benefits which all include tuition and other specified fees at 28 Florida Colleges and 12 State Universities. (To answer one common question: the funds can be used outside of Florida. My daughter is using her Florida Prepaid at Valdosta State University in Georgia.) Find answers to other common questions here.
Open Enrollment is October 15, 2017 through February 28, 2018
Open enrollment for Florida Prepaid opens today, October 15, 2017, and will last through February 28, 2018 (payments won’t be due until April 2018)!
(You can enroll in a 529 plan year-round.)
“But I’m on the Fence”
I totally understand this. I have been transparent about the fact that my position “on the fence” was eliminated when my parents generously bought both of my children prepaid plans when they were infants (thanks, Mom and Dad!).
I chatted with a few friends who shared concerns they have heard (or believe themselves) about Florida Prepaid. In case you have the same questions, here is my attempt to answer. (These answers pertain to Florida Prepaid vs 529 plans — I am happy to help you find answers to 529 questions too.)
What if my child gets a scholarship?
If your child receives a scholarship, you can get a refund for the same amount as the plan would pay a public college or university in Florida.
What if my child goes to school out of state? It’s so hard to predict what a 3-year-old (or whatever age) is going want when they are 18.
Plans are designed to be used at a Florida College or State University but the amount covered by the plan can also be applied at other schools nationwide or at private colleges and universities in Florida.
Dave Ramsey doesn’t like Prepaid Plans (this is his rationale).
I respect Dave Ramsey immensely and if I had done 5% of what he suggests, my personal financial future would be much brighter right now. However, his suggestion that I invest “… the $10,000 in a growth stock mutual fund ESA where your money grows tax free” poses the flawed logic for me that I don’t have $10,000 to invest. I don’t know many other parents who do either.
There are Special Opportunities Happening Right Now!
A Chance to Win a Scholarship
From now until October 29, you can win a chance to be one of 10 recipients of a 2-Year Florida College Plan scholarship. You can enter daily. Here’s the link. You’ll also get a chance to win $25 off your $50 application fee.
A Chance to Get Your Entire Contract Paid Off!
Anyone who purchases a Florida Prepaid College Plan between Oct. 15 and Nov. 30, 2017 will be automatically entered to “win the gift of college” from the Florida Prepaid College Board (FPCB), with the selected Plan purchaser’s entire Plan being paid off in full by FPCB. Also eligible will be pended Plan enrollments, which become active on October 15.
How Do I Get More Information?
I get it. There’s a lot to sort through and the choices can be confounding.
Here’s my advice: START SOMEWHERE.
Remember that saving early for college is proven to make a positive difference long-term.
Consider investing in at least a year.
The 1-year Florida University Plan is the only option that allows families to save for a child’s postsecondary education one year at a time, starting at less than $50 a month.
The 1-year plan also allows families to share in the cost of college, with different family members each saving toward one or more of the four years.
It’s a great time to sow seeds of security for your child’s educational future. Visit Florida Prepaid on the web or call 1.800.552.GRAD (4723).