Prepaid Tuition Vs. College Loans

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By: Matt Horn
October 30, 2013

As the cost of college tuition continues to increase – paying now is one option to keep the price of college low for Florida families. However, opponents say the prepaid option can be still financially straining.

The thought of having college paid-off before a student even takes their first step on campus is ideal for a family preparing to send their child off to school.

“Prepaid or the 529, if it’s specifically for college is going to be your best bet. There are a lot of tax advantages,” said Terri Jackson, Financial Planner.

The cost of tuition in Florida has increased 60-percent over the last five years. The cost of putting money aside for college has, too. The state’s prepaid plan has jumped to fewer than 54,000 dollars for a newborn.

“You get a very set payment schedule and when you’re finished with those payments you’re guaranteed your child will be able to attend college,” said Kevin Thompson, Executive Director Florida Prepaid College Plans.

Jackson said the program is great for families who are able to afford it. “Do the best that you can,” she said. “Any amount of money that you can put aside is going to be great.”

She was quick to add the economy has made it difficult for families to put back for their children’s education.

“A lot of people are just having a hard time working that into their budget,” she said.

The plan doesn’t force a student to attend a Florida school. If they go out of state they will only receive the amount they would for in-state tuition.

“The plans that we sell we have plans for every one of those colleges and universities in Florida,” said Thompson.

If your child doesn’t go to college – you get your money back, even the 4.66-percent interest.

The enrollment period for the prepaid program kicks off November 1 and runs through the end of February.

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