College can be expensive, but for two year old Haley Steele it’s taken care of. Haley has a Florida Prepaid College Plan.
“Her grandparents actually bought the four year university plan in a lump sum for her, so it’s a huge load off knowing that her education is pretty much taken care of,” said Haley mother Leah Stelle.
By purchasing the plan early, Haley avoided an 11% jump in prices. A four year university plan purchased in 2011, cost 35,000 dollars or if paid in installments about 300 bucks a month. Today, the same plan can be bought for 53,000 dollars or 331 dollars monthly.
But buying a plan today could mean saving ten’s of thousands of dollars down the road. Economists at the Florida Prepaid College Board say by 2030, a four year degree in Florida could cost 140,000 dollars.
Board spokeswoman Susan James says the plans give families certainty in the face of skyrocketing tuition prices. “The ability to sort of lock in a plan price today, your payments never go up. You’re insulated from future tuition and fee increase. Money back guarantee if you need it.”
Despite the promise, the number of people buying plans fell 10% last year, to just below 20,000. People are also steering away from the university plans and buying cheaper college plans.
“22 of 28 now are offering that baccalaureate degree, and you can buy the prepaid plan today for 18,000,” said James
The four college plan has only been available for two years, but its already growing in popularity. In 2011, one in four prepaid plans sold in Florida was a state college plan.
Open enrollment began last week and runs through mid-January. There are four different plans: the University plan, the Two Plus Two plan which is two years at a state college and two more at a university, a four year state college plan, and the cheapest plan is the two year college plan which is the cheapest at about 8,000 dollars.