Florida Prepaid amendment to refund $50 million

Destiney Burt/Staff Writer

Florida Prepaid, which was once considered a smart investment for parents hoping to put their kids through college, has become increasingly more expensive with rising tuition rates. But lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would save families who enroll a newborn almost a hundred dollars a month and refund $50 million to 26 thousand families.

Today, customers pay double the tuition rate to protect them from a possible 15 percent tuition increase over the span of a decade.

This change to the prepaid plan began in 2009. Because colleges and universities are raising tuition fees, Florida Prepaid is getting even more expensive.

Tuition, which is set by the State Legislature and the Board of Governors, is not dependent upon the amount paid by Florida Prepaid. However, lawmakers are trying pass a bill that would amend the program, changing the payment plan that determines how much families would have to pay for tuition and fees.

Some students aren’t banking on the bill, however.

“Tuition rises because of inflation due to our monetary system and regardless of what lawmakers try to do, it will keep on rising,” said Felipe Valencia, a junior biology major.

Nicholas Armbrister’s parents starting saving for his college education when he was just a child.

“I don’t think there would be a negative impact if the bill doesn’t pass,” said Armbrister, a sophomore in business management. “If parents start raising money for their children when they are at a young age, it just means they will have to save up a little bit more money.”

Armbrister believes Florida Prepaid is still beneficial even though it continues to rise, “but a lot more people should exercise other options and be looking for scholarships, loans and grants more often than they do now.”

Aexandra Dimeco, senior journalism major, views the bill in a more positive light, however.

“It’s beneficial because, throughout the years, tuition has exponentially risen,” said Dimeco. “It will take stress off of parents and it’s a guarantee that their child will have coverage for college.”

But the amendment to the program wouldn’t only lower plan prices. It could also potentially refund $50 million to people that have already invested in Florida Prepaid.

A supervisor of customer service for Florida Prepaid said the families that could receive part of the refund have not been determined yet, and are contingent upon the bill’s approval.

Until the bill is passed and goes through the House, there are few concrete details about the possible refunds.

“The families that would get refunds, if the bill is passed, would receive confirmation and information on their website,” said the customer service supervisor.
Account members who possibly paid more when tuition was raised would be the ones seeing the refunds, according to Florida Prepaid, but “we are not able to speculate anything during this time,” the supervisor said.

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