Open enrollment in Florida’s Prepaid College Program kicked off on Oct. 15, 2017, providing families with an opportunity to start planning and saving today for a child’s future tuition at a public college or university in the state.
From now through Feb. 28, 2018, Florida residents with a newborn child or a student in the eleventh grade or younger may enroll in the 2017-2018 Florida Prepaid College Program and lock in today’s costs for a future college education. Contributions start at less than $47 per month for a 1-Year Florida University Plan, and can be as little as $187 per month for a 4-year plan.
Plan participants have the flexibility to make their contributions in one lump sum, on an affordable monthly payment schedule or on an accelerated five-year plan. All amounts paid to the plans are guaranteed by the state, ensuring that participants never risk losing any of the money they contribute. In fact, should plan participants earn undergraduate degrees and have money left over in their prepaid plans, they may apply those funds toward tuition at any graduate or professional schools nationwide. In addition, students who decide to enroll in a college or university outside of Florida may also apply their prepaid plan contributions toward the costs of tuition at any public or private school nationwide.
It is important to note that Florida’s prepaid plans are intended solely to cover the costs of tuition and differential fees at a public college or university in Florida. While the program does offer a separate plan that allows families to prepay for up to two years of a student’s on-campus housing in the future, it does not cover many of the additional expenses that a typical college student will incur, including costs for meals, books, gas, and entertainment. Additionally, students who pursue a degree outside of Florida will find that their Florida Prepaid Plan contributions will not be enough to cover the full costs of out-of-state or private university tuition.
To help families afford the additional expenses of a college education, they may consider supplementing a prepaid plan with a more flexible, self-directed 529 college savings plan. Earnings is a 529 plan escape federal taxes and may be withdrawn tax-free when used to pay for “qualifying education expenses”, which can include tuition, fees, books, on-campus housing and computer technology required for the student to earn his or her degree.
Saving for a child’s education is an important investment in his or her future that should be carried out under the guidance of experienced professionals to ensure that such activities align with a family’s overall financial needs and goals.
To enroll in or learn more about Florida Prepaid College Plans or 529 Plans, visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com.
About the Author: Stefan Pastor is a financial planner with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. For more information, call (954) 712-8888 or email email@example.com.
Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.
Stefan Pastor is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants. PWA is not a registered broker/deal and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors.
This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.
The information contained in this report has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.
This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security referred to herein. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with 529 plans before investing. This and other information about 529 plans is available in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing. Investors should consult a tax advisor about any state tax consequences of an investment in a 529 plan. As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 plan. There is also a risk that these plans may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Most states offer their own 529 programs, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents. The tax implications can vary significantly from state to state. Investors should consider, before investing, whether the investor’s or the designated beneficiary’s home state offers any tax or other benefits that are only available for investment in such state’s 529 college savings plan. Such benefits include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors.