Helping a Child “Become Someone” Through Florida Prepaid

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

My dear friend Jane Anderson wrote a Thanksgiving reflection this year that made me think. Among other observations, she talked about a year when her family decided “to try eating out for Thanksgiving instead of laboring hours in the kitchen for 15 minutes of consuming the results.”

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My sister-in-law’s lovely table.

Taking steps to ensure a child in your life has the security of Prepaid College Tuition is sort of the opposite concept: spending 15 minutes (often less) now to guarantee years of educational benefits and assurance.

There are several 15-minute investments you can make now that can make a difference in your child’s educational future and make their future more secure.

Explore Choices

In 15 minutes, you can scan the Florida Prepaid options and start to narrow down which one may be best for you. There are five choices:

  • 1-Year Florida University Plan
  • 2-Year Florida College Plan
  • 4-Year Florida College Plan
  • 2+2 Florida College Plan
  • 4-Year Florida University Plan

You can read more about each plan here. (There’s also a dormitory plan.)

Wayne and I are not new to the parenting rodeo, and I’m going to guess that many of you may be in a similar position to us — you have children who are rapidly hurtling toward college. You may not find yourself *quite* as prepared as you’d like to be for their educational needs once they graduate from high school.

The 1-Year Florida University Plan is one I would particularly take the time to note. Designed to provide an extremely affordable prepaid option, it allows purchasers to buy one year of State University credit hours at a time according to their budget and timeline, without feeling the pressure of having to buy all four years at once.

The 1-Year plan, which starts at less than $50 a month, also allows multiple purchasers to buy a plan for the same child.Each purchaser can have their own separate account and a child can have up to four 1-Year Florida University Plans.

Encourage Your Child’s Aspirations

My conversations with my own children, as well as nieces and nephews, at this year’s Thanksgiving gathering were different from previous years. Everyone has grown up. Some childhood dreams have faded while new ones have taken their place.

But no matter the dreams, the pleasure has been hearing their progression over the years.

Mike Massimino, an astronaut who has flown on two Shuttle missions, was the first astronaut on Twitter, and appeared on The Big Bang Theory (he gave Howard his astronaut name), writes in his book about his childhood dreams.

“My world was very small. People didn’t think about leaving Long Island, let alone going to space.” When Massimino visited Columbia University as a high school senior for an admissions interview, he wrote, “…the minute I arrived, I felt like I understood what college was.” He goes on to say, “I had a revelation: This is where people learn. This is where you become someone. I’d never had that feeling before.”

Fifteen minutes go by quickly, but they’re enough to remind a child in your life that they can indeed be someone, and that higher education is within their reach. Higher education financing options

Talk With Family Members About Pitching In

One practical and positive feature of Florida Prepaid Plans is that family members can help. If a relative asks what they can do for a holiday gift, consider talking with them about Prepaid.

I know I would love to give the children in my life the gift of security at a time when so many aspects of our world seem uncertain; this is a gift that promises to be more enduring than a toy or sweater.

As I mentioned above, with 1-Year University plans, four separate people could conceivably each purchase a year contract. There are various configurations and options.

In addition, anyone can make payments or contributions towards a prepaid account.

Enroll in Florida Prepaid

The enrollment process can easily be completed in 15 minutes or less.

Enrollment ends February 28, 2018, but there’s a special incentive for people who enroll by November 30. They will be entered to have their entire contract paid off!

You can also save 50% off your $50 enrollment fee by using the code GREEN1718.

Visit Florida Prepaid on the web or call 1.800.552.GRAD (4723) for more information. 

I’d say 15 minutes is a small investment to make to help a child experience the opportunity to “become someone.”

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Why Put Off Investing in Your Child’s Education?

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:

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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.

Also, you can save $25 off your $50 application fee by using code GREEN1718.

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.

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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).

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