Prepaid vs. College Debt

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.

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

The cost of tuition in Florida has increased 60% over the last five years; the cost of putting money aside for college has, too. The state’s prepaid plan has jumped to just under $54,000 for a newborn.

Kevin Thompson with the Florida Prepaid College Plans said, “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.”

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

Jackson 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.”

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.

One drawback to the plan: if your child doesn’t go to college, you get your money back but no interest.

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