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- Prepaid plans make postsecondary education easier to save for and more affordable.
- The program covers full tuition costs and fees at all Florida public colleges and universities.
- Tuition locks in from program enrollment until 10 years beyond the expected start date.
- The program guarantees all paid funds and refunds anything left unused.
Compared to other states, Florida offers some of the most affordable tuition rates in the country. The state also runs several programs to help families support their kids’ education, including the Florida Prepaid College Plan.
In the face of rising costs, prepaid plans allow families to start paying for their kids’ future education today at the current tuition rates. In return, the plans provide full tuition coverage at any of the public universities or colleges in Florida.
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What Is the Florida Prepaid College Program?
The Florida Prepaid College Program was established in 1987 as an easier way for Florida families to invest in their children’s future education. With a prepaid plan, contributors make payments based on the locked-in tuition prices at the time they enroll in the program.
You can enroll in the prepaid program at any time, but prices only lock in during the open enrollment period from February through April. Prepaid plan recipients can use the funds nationwide, but they or their parents/guardians must have been Florida residents in the 12 months prior to enrollment.
How It Works
The Florida Prepaid College Program provides risk-free education investments by paying the difference in tuition if prices increase or refunding the difference if prices decrease. Your payments depend on the student’s age at the time of enrollment and the type of school chosen.
You can pick two- or four-year state college plans, 2+2 program plans, or one- or four-year state university plans.
What It Covers
Depending on your plan, the Florida Prepaid College Program covers 100% of tuition costs for up to 120 hours at a state college or university, plus local fees. If tuition prices go up in the meantime, the prepaid plan covers the differential. The program also offers optional dormitory housing coverage for up to eight semesters.
The Florida Prepaid College Program works with each of the state’s public schools, including 12 state universities and 28 state colleges.
Along with the participating state colleges and universities, Florida prepaid plans can be used at eligible private and out-of-state schools nationwide. This includes any school eligible to receive Title IV funding, plus many more.
4 Benefits of the Florida Prepaid College Plan
The Florida Prepaid College Plan provides many advantages over saving on your own for your child’s schooling. The guaranteed program locks the tuition rate, giving your child plenty of time to use the funds, and allowing them to study in-state, out-of-state, on-campus, or via online learning.
1. Locks in Tuition Costs for Any Florida State College or University
When you start a Florida College Prepaid Plan, you lock in your contributions at any Florida state college or university based on the tuition prices at that time. Your payments will remain the same, regardless of what happens with state tuition costs. If tuition prices decrease during the life of the plan, you’ll receive a refund for the surplus.
2. Gives You Up to 10 Years to Use the Plan
Florida prepaid plans must be used within 10 years of the student’s projected start year. That allows your child until the age of 28 to use the funds, allowing them to pace themselves, take a gap year, or attend graduate school. Any leftover funds can then be transferred to another beneficiary or refunded.
3. Can Be Used for Eligible Out-of-State Colleges
Prepaid plans can be used at many out-of-state colleges, including all those that qualify to receive Title IV funding. The plan awards an amount equal to the cost of a Florida college or university. However, since Florida has some of the lowest tuition rates in the country, the plan may not cover the entirety of out-of-state tuition costs.
4. Guaranteed By the State of Florida
The State of Florida guarantees all prepaid plans, meaning that all tuition costs and fees will be covered at the state college or university of your choice, regardless of how high tuition prices get. You’ll never lose money on your investment, and any surplus funds will be refunded.
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Florida Prepaid Plan vs. 529 Plan: What’s the Difference?
The Florida 529 Plan offers two options for state residents: the Florida Prepaid College Plan and 529 College Savings Plan. For prepaid plans, contributors pay into a college fund at current-day tuition prices. This plan simplifies the savings process and eliminates the risk of investing.
For the College Savings Plan, contributors manage their own education investment account. While investments are not guaranteed, this plan offers tax-free investment earnings for anything used to cover education costs, including meal plans, books, and other supplies.
Is the Florida Prepaid Plan Worth It?
The Florida Prepaid Plan offers great value for many Florida students and families, but this plan works best for state residents who plan to attend one of Florida’s public universities or colleges. The plan provides a simple and safe way to save for your children’s education and guarantees tuition coverage will be there when you need it.
Since plan prices depend on the age of the student at the time of enrollment, however, families with older children might find it difficult to fund the program.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida’s Prepaid College Plan
How much is the Florida prepaid plan?
Prepaid plans and pricing vary by option, but prices start as low as $45 per month for a newborn on a one-year Florida university plan. At the high end, four-year university plans for older students can exceed $3,700 per month, plus over $1,000 monthly for optional dormitory coverage.
What happens to unused Florida prepaid plan funds?
Any unused funds in your Florida Prepaid College Plan can be refunded or transferred to another prepaid plan. If your student chooses not to go to school, you can transfer the funds to another 529 plan or an Individual Retirement Account.
You may also choose to get refunded what you paid into the plan, minus fees up to $50.
Does the Florida prepaid plan cover summer classes?
Yes, you can use a Florida prepaid plan to cover summer classes or any other academic semester.
Page last reviewed November 13, 2023.