Florida Prepaid becomes too expensive for some

Raul Alvarez/Staff Writer

The number of people investing in Florida Prepaid dropped 30 percent during this season’s open-enrollment period.

What once gave peace of mind to parents who could ensure a college education for their child has now become increasingly more expensive with rising tuition, thus making it harder to obtain.

“The Prepaid plan was very cheap when I started paying for it in 1992 when my son was born and same for my daughter in 1996,” said FIU parent, Diego Jones. “But I do not know what I would have done back then if the rates were what they are today.”

Indeed, the price of tuition has skyrocketed and so has the price of the Florida Prepaid program, leaving parents scrambling. It costs $350.35 a month for more than 18 years to enroll a newborn in a four-year university plan. Parents who previously wished to lock in a lower price of college education for their kids are finally drawing the line as the plan becomes unaffordable for many people.

“There is no way I am paying for the Florida Prepaid plan,” said Cristina Martinez,  an alumna who is looking for ways to save for her year-old son’s future education.

“I have talked to all my friends who have kids and we all agree that the plan is just unrealistic now,” she said. “One of them has a son who is 9 and a daughter who is 4. The plan was still affordable when her son was born but by the time her daughter was born they just could not do it.”

As an alternative, Martinez is investing in the Florida 529 Savings Plan.

[pullquote]“I have talked to all my friends who have kids and we all agree that the plan is just unrealistic now.”-Cristina Martinez, FIU Alumna.[/pullquote]

The increasingly popular plan created by the Florida Prepaid College Board offers much more flexibility, giving many options as to how much is paid and where the money goes. As stated on the Board’s official website, “Even if you can’t save for your child’s entire college education, starting something is always better than doing nothing.”

The Board also hopes that a new state effort to limit tuition increases will help bring down the price of prepaid contracts, and bring people back to the plan.

Student Media reached out to Luisa Havens, vice president of Enrollment Services, to find out how many students have enrolled with Florida Prepaid over the years, but she was unavailable for comment. Media Relations and the Office of Institutional Planning did not provide this information either.


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