Last week, we got a phone call asking if Richard or I would like to be involved in an information gathering group in regards to Florida Prepaid College Plans. We purchased this for Blake last year. The premise of this program is that you lock in today's tuition rates for your child. You can pay for it in a lump sum, 5 years worth of monthly installments or monthly payments until your child is going to college. The amount you spend is dependent on the age of the child. We decided to choose this plan for Blake and then set up a 529 plan for Colby since both are interchangeable and we could decided when they are getting ready to go to college which plan to use for which boy.
Ok great... we locked in 2007 tuition rates for a child who is only 1.5... woohoo... how smart are we as parents. That was until we got a slap in the face at the meeting last night. I was no NOT expecting this at all.
I found out that they found a loophole in this plan. The state legislature passed a bill that will bring Florida's tuition from the 49th lowest to up the national average. In doing this they have allowed the colleges and universities to increase their tuition at a rate of 15% a year for the next 5 year. Ok fine... I understand that they need to increase tuitions to keep competitive, not sure they have to jump up that many steps, but still.
Ok back to my issue... when we signed up for the plan there was an alternate plan called tuition differential, which at the time was to cover the difference in cost of 3-5 big name schools in FL. But, since the difference at the time was stated to only be about $5000 we opted out of this plan. Yeah, now they are saying that if you bought the plan before July 1, 2007, you are grandfathered in, but if you bought it after that term... then you will be expected to either have the tuition differential or come up with this money on your own when your child goes to college. Hellooooo you are talking about coming up with a possible $20,000 oh by the way.
This is so wrong. If we decided to purchase this plan for Colby it would cost us $41,000 where as if they didn't have this up in legislature it would have only cost us around $21,000.
Is there an end to this? Is there a time when we are going to realize the importance of education. As I stated in the meeting, it is sad that our president just said he wants to make college eductions more affordable for everyone and here we go again out-pricing it for many! Gesh!!