JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Now is the time to put some money away for your child's college.
Open enrollment for the Florida Prepaid College Board began Tuesday. The program allows parents to prepay higher education costs at this year's plan prices.
Between Greek life, campus food and more, college is expensive. But even without scholarships, some students and parents don't have to worry about tuition, thanks to the prepaid program.
"It helped a lot because that way we didn't have to pay so much out of pocket 'cause we've just been paying it like little by little, so it pretty much paid for my hole tuition," said Samantha Trance, a student at the University of North Florida.
"I lost my Bright Futures (scholarship), so Florida Prepaid helped out big time and it covered all of my classes, and my parents constantly keep saying, 'If it wasn't for prepaid, if it wasn't for prepaid,'" UNF student Bradley Goldring said.
Besides tuition, there's dorms, books and supplies, which is why students say it's nice to at least have one less cost to worry about. Plus, some prepaid plans will cover those other costs if chosen.
"Books this semester, I spent close to maybe $200 on one book and I was like, 'Really?'" UNF student Frances Rijo said.
If students get grant money or scholarships, the money from Florida Prepaid goes back to them to cover books and other things they need.
"I had Bright Futures, and so what Bright Futures didn't cover, Florida Prepaid covered," UNF student Samantha Snyder said.
So what if your child decides college isn't for them? You get the money back.
"It's a guarantee, regardless, which I just found to be the best way to go given the rates," said Anissa Agne, UNF director of student financial aid.
There are four plans to pick from, which cover tuition and most mandatory fees at Florida's 12 universities and 28 colleges.
Open enrollment ends on Jan. 31. For information on the four plans available and the cost, go to www.MyFloridaPrepaid.com.
Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.