Florida prepaid college costs to drop

Cost of plan to drop almost $20,000 when enrollment opens in fall


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The cost of prepaying for a college education is about to get cheaper for 50,000 people who have purchased prepaid plans since 2011. The cost of a plan will drop almost $20,000 when enrollment opens this fall.

For a child born in 2013, $54,000 is the price tag on a prepaid college plan. But when enrollment opens in October, the cost will drop dramatically from $54,000 to $35,000.

Monthly costs will drop from around $350 to $250.

The lower prices are a result of legislation signed by Gov. Rick Scott. It takes away the authority of universities to raise tuition by up to 15 percent a year. Kristin Lock, of the Florida Prepaid College Program, said plan holders won't have to do anything but wait to see lower rates or refunds.

"We can assure our account owners that no one will have paid more than what those plans, those new plan prices will be," said Lock.

Plans purchased after 2008 to cover what is called differential tuition, and plans purchased after 2011 to cover a full four-year ride or two years at a junior college and then two years at a university will all see refunds.

Florida State University Trustee Susie Busch Transou got in hot water with the governor last year because she allowed tuition to go up. She still thinks lower tuition rates can be short-sighted.

"Universities need the resources to employ the best faculty that the universities can employ. To have the best resources to provide the education the students deserve," said Transou.

The $19,000 drop is only an estimate for now. Plan payments will be calculated and approved in September.

Of the 12 state universities, only Florida State and the University of Florida will be allowed to raise tuition annually, but only by 6 percent -- not 15 percent allowed under the previous law.