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Refunds coming soon for Florida Prepaid users

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The letters are in the mail and checks soon will be to more than 40,000 Florida families that will see lower Prepaid college costs. The lower fees are a direct result of a new law.

Overall $200 million is being refunded and another $700 million won't be collected under the lower prices. People who purchase a plan when enrollment opens on Oct. 15, and before the end of the year will have the $50 application fee waived. 

Nate Friedel of Tampa is one of 110,000 students attending a Florida college on a Prepaid plan.

"I know for my family it would be a lot more difficult," Friedel said. "It's nice not having to worry about the finances for college as much."

Letters announcing a drop in costs are going out to 22,000 families who purchased a Prepaid plan in the last six years. This 5-year-old plan is seeing monthly costs drop from $189 to just $108.

At least 18,000 families who paid in full will see refunds ranging from $3 to as much as $28,000. Lower payments kick in with this month's payment. But for those getting a refund, they'll have to wait until late October or early November.

Prepaid spokesperson Shannon Colavecchio said the drop is a direct result of legislation limiting future tuition hikes.

"It allowed us to say, 'OK, those projections we had made about college cost are actually going to go down, so we can lower the price of the plan,'" Colavecchio said.

The lower tuition was championed by Gov. Rick Scott, who said during his State of the State in March, "We have to make it more affordable."

He crowed about it when it passed on May 2.

And the Republican Party has made the drop a central theme of Scott's reelection with a TV spot slamming Democratic nominee Charlie Crist and promoting the governor.

"Now Gov. Rick Scott is making college more affordable" chimes the ad.

So, it is no surprise Scott also included a letter to plan participants letting them know he signed the legislation making tuition more affordable.