Florida Prepaid Plans: Enrollment is Open!

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

I was sitting on my daughter, Tenley’s, bed last night chatting, when my eyes fell on this pillow which all the grandchildren in our family had been given for Christmas many years ago.

College Financing

I mentioned how sentimental the pillow made me, since we had just spent the evening at a co-ed shower for my niece, Jessica, who is getting married next month. Between Jessica’s birth in 1989 and my daughter’s birth in 1996, five girls were born to my sisters-in-law Mary and Ann, and I had Tenley. The result was years of girl togetherness, baby dolls, gymnastics meets, dance recitals, fashion discoveries, makeup sessions, sparkles, and smiles. As I stood in various clumps of people last night, each of the girls talked about her 2016 life. They are now a pharmacist, two nurses, a nursing student, and two juniors in college. Each one is remarkable.

Planning Ahead Matters

What is remarkable for my family is that my parents had the foresight to look at the facts when I was still “in the weeds” of the day-to-day costs of having an infant and to purchase a Florida Prepaid College plan for Tenley when she was a newborn (they did the same for my son, Wayne, when he was born in 1999).

Enrollment Is Open!

The Florida Prepaid College Board has launched the 2016-17 Open Enrollment period. This is important: you can only enroll between now and February 28, 2017. After that, you will have to wait until the next enrollment period.

So Many Options!

One thing I love about Florida Prepaid plans is how they are responsive to the evolving needs of today’s families. There are more affordable options now than ever before, and more plan designs that reflect the education financing needs of today’s college-bound students. Here they are:

The 1-Year Florida University Plan (the newest offering)

With this plan, you can purchase one year, or 30 credit hours, at a time according to your budget and timeline, without feeling the pressure of having to buy all four years at once.

The 1-Year Florida University Plan also allows multiple purchasers to buy a plan for the same child (hello grandparents, aunts, uncles, and caring friends!). A child can have up to four 1-Year Florida University Plans.

The 2-Year Florida College Plan

This plan is perfect to set children up with a practical, affordable path to entering their chosen career with an associate’s degree or trade certification.

Every cent of the value of this plan can be applied at any university or college nationwide and is guaranteed by the state of Florida. Purchasers cannot lose the money they put in.

The 4-Year Florida College Plan

There are 28 Florida colleges (such as the one near my home town, Florida Gateway College, which I visited numerous times in my Union County high school career when it was still Lake City Community College) They’ve expanded their capabilities far beyond two-year programs. Most now offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs in growth industries like nursing and teaching, and continue to grow their degree programs year after year.

Since the 28 Florida colleges are typically less expensive than a university education, the 4-year college plan provides a practical, affordable path to a bachelor’s degree.

Every cent of the value of this plan is guaranteed by the state of Florida (this is true for Florida Prepaid plans).

The 2+2 Florida College Plan

By starting your child off at one of Florida’s 28 colleges, you’ll save money on lower-level courses before they transfer to a state university to finish off their degree.

Students with this plan are guaranteed admission to a state university once they’re earned their associate’s degree at a Florida college.

The 4-Year Florida University Plan

The plan starts your child off at one of Florida’s 12 state universities.

If your child decides to start at a college (typically less expensive), the unused funds from this plan can be applied to a post-secondary degree or you can get the remaining money back.

Like all Florida Prepaid plans, use isn’t restricted to Florida schools; the amount covered by your Prepaid Plan can be used at schools nationwide. (Tenley is using hers at Valdosta State University in Georgia, for example.) There are dormitory plan options also.

What Is The Investment?

Here’s some incredible news. The Florida Prepaid Board has worked extremely hard to keep prices near historic lows, and they have succeeded! That’s great for Florida families.

As you can see above, there are more plans than ever, and they are structured in a way that acknowledges the budgeting challenges families face. Plans start at less than $47 a month!

College Financing

For less than $47 a month, a parent or other caring adult can demonstrate their belief in the future by starting a Florida Prepaid Plan. Look at all the potential of the kids in this video, and the hope shared by the adults who want their children’s dreams to soar:

Don’t Let the Application Fee Stand in Your Way!

If you’re like me, you can see the smaller details of life as bigger stumbling blocks than they are. Yes, there is an application fee of $50. But with this code, BLOG1617, you can save 50% off of that fee!

College Financing

Remember the Scholarship Contest?

You read every word I publish, right? Just in case you’re in the minority who do not (wink wink) or you are a new reader, I wrote recently about the opportunity to win one of 10 2-Year Florida College Plans through the Florida Prepaid College Foundation!

There is less than one week left to enter to win! Here are the details:

When: Register between now and October 23

Where: Click here to enter (remember you can enter daily)

What You Can Win: In addition to registering to win one of the ten 2-year plans, when you click on the entry link, you can earn extra entries by answering questions, learning more about saving for college, and sharing on social media. There will also be chances to win a weekly prize.

Eligibility: Open to legal residents in the state of Florida with children or grandchildren between the ages of newborn through 8th grade.

College Financing

About Florida Prepaid

As you think through your family’s options for Florida Prepaid, visit the Florida Prepaid College Plan by clicking here for information. If you prefer to speak with someone by phone, please call 800-552-GRAD (4723).

Little Girls Grow Up

Yes, I got lost in the “overwhelm” of the responsibilities, logistical and financial, of having a newborn (but my parents saw longer term, fortunately). As you can see below, the little girls from the picture on the pillow grew up faster than their family can comprehend. Remember how quickly the time flies, and look into Florida Prepaid as an option for your child or a child you love during this open enrollment period.

College Financing

Tenley and my nieces, December 2015.

 

Remember Who You Are

Today was a first for me: the first time I have heard a Lion King reference used during a homily said by a Catholic priest. As I sat with my cousin, Karen, at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral in St. Petersburg this morning, Fr. Anthony referenced Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and Nala during his remarks. He reminded us of the line “remember who you are.”

I had the good fortune to spend the weekend in Tampa and St. Petersburg. As I scrolled through pictures from the weekend, it occurred to me that this trip rather succinctly sums up much of “who I am” (if you put aside the fact that my husband and kids were not along).

READING (no picture for this one …)

My audiobook choice was a horrible choice if I was trying to escape (because it is about a son being the caregiver for his elderly mother). BUT I am thoroughly enjoying Bettyville and am impressed at the author’s ability to interject humor into a situation which (believe me, I know) is often devoid of humor.

FUN WITH WEATHER/NATURE

Isn’t this sunset over Old Tampa Bay glorious?

Sunset

Although my iPhoneography didn’t really do it justice, this rainbow over St. Pete was beautiful!

Rainbow

This morning’s sunrise over Coffee Pot Bayou:

sunrise coffee pot

RUNNING

My friend Diane Berberian and I ran the Lowry Park Zoo Run Run 5K yesterday morning. The course ran through the zoo and along the river. Seriously, running friends are the best!

Diane

FOOD!

Back when I was making my way along the Tallahassee Burger Trail, Diane had said “if you’re ever in St. Pete, I’ll show you a great burger.”  She did! And I enjoyed a Black and Blue Burger from The Burg (and voted for it in the 4th Annual Grand Central District Battle of the Burg(er))! Yummy!

burger

FRIENDS / COWORKERS / FRIENDS

Being part of a virtual team is great because of the flexibility but there are just times when you want to look each other in the eyes! Megan and I have been social media friends for a while, then became coworkers with Weaving Influence when I joined WI in October 2014. She recently moved to Florida (yay!!!!!!). Her husband Frank and I have been Swarm friends for a while, and narrowly missed a Newark Airport meetup in March. And then there’s Blake, who truly fits that “for this child I prayed” verse. I so enjoyed meeting them IRL and face timing Becky (our founder!).

megan

FAMILY

The genesis of this trip was my desire to visit with my Aunt Faye. I was unable to attend the memorial service in June after my Uncle Marvin passed away, so I had promised to spend some time with her this summer. A few logistical hurdles jumped and it all worked out great — I got to enjoy dinner with her, my cousin Kathy, Kathy’s husband Bob, and two other friends (and snap the great sunset picture above).

Faye

Then, rounding out the cousin visit agenda, I went to mass with Karen (Faye’s other daughter) this morning!

Karen

Lastly, I rarely get down to Riverview to visit our family burial plot. I spent a few moments visiting Ann, Chuck, Wayne’s grandparents Stanley and Lottie, his Aunt Susan, and a few other Thomasson relatives.

Chuck

Ann

When I went up for a blessing during Communion today, the deacon’s blessing was “May you have an awesome week.”

Thanks to a weekend characterized by so much of what I love: Books, Friends (and coworkers!), Family, Food, Running, and Nature … count me “grateful” and on target for an “awesome week”!

I hope your week ahead is full of blessings and “awesome” as well!

Five Questions for 2015

It’s the first day of March and I a doing a “look back at 2014” post. Hmmm…..

It is a little late in the year for this, but I was attracted to these “5 Questions to Make the Most of 2015”  and their accompanying quotes so I decided to give them a shot. Retrospection is never really out of style especially if it helps you improve.

When did I kick ass?

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” – Tom Peters

If I kicked ass in 2014, it was either:

A cumulative set of small things (like honoring the soldiers of Camp Gordon Johnston almost every day, demonstrating accountability in my workouts, consistently using Charity Miles to earn money for causes I love via my workouts)

StanleyDuPlanti

or …

Successfully biting my tongue during my daily drives with my father in law. It has been a struggle to “be the adult” when being told how to drive, having my motives for working questioned, or being berated for taking the time to lure the cat in after he (again) left the door open accidentally.

However – you know who’s the real badass in this situation? He is. For dealing with the loss of his spouse of 55 years, for dealing with decades of debilitating chronic pain, for waiting interminable amounts of time for diagnostic tests to explain the latest health issue, for having zero control in a world where he is accustomed to being in charge.

When was I most alive?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman10409403_10152149271486315_2859153504720087386_n

Easy: the week I spent in El Salvador and the week I spent in NYC.

Also, any time I was on an FSU film set.

And when I was scared to death and completely out of my element auditioning for a musical (then when I took a lesson to try to at least improve the piece and redeem myself). It was still below par musically but clawing myself up from awful to mediocre felt very, very alive.

When was I bored?

“The opposite of happiness is not sadness, but boredom.” – Tim Ferriss

“Here’s a great definition of boredom: The absence of growth.”

I was bored at work. Therefore I left.

Note: At no time in almost 20 years was I ever bored with the cause of providing quality, affordable health care to children. I was bored with the way my responsibilities were playing out. I was feeling the itch to do more communications and incorporate social media into my work life. Neither of those were options. I have only written one blog post about why I left, and it’s not about boredom, but here it is.

Who were my teachers this year? Whom did I teach?

“You are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.” – Jim Rohn

I have actually had a placeholder to do an entire blog about this idea — I read about it previously in the blogs of one of the Lead Change Group Leading Voices.

The answer to the “five people” question is:

My husband, Wayne

My father-in-law, Wayne

My son, Wayne Kevin (do we see a theme here?)

The online community

My Toastmasters group

My husband has taught me to ask for things I don’t feel like I can get. My father-in-law has taught me to check and make sure the door is really closed so that cat doesn’t get out! My son has taught me that the people who seem the least observant are sometimes quite the opposite. My online community has taught me it is okay to ask for help. My Toastmasters group  has taught me to tell my story with fewer double clutches. (A double clutch is when a word or phrase is repeated such as “She played basketball played basketball well.”)

Who have I taught? I enjoyed being a first-time mentor to a new Toastmasters member. Maybe some other lessons I have taught will come home to roost. We’ll see.

What mattered most?

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who spends himself on a worthy cause” – Theodore Roosevelt

Family. Always has, always will.

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Do these questions pique  your curiosity as they did mine? Give them a look and let me know what you think!