No matter how many toys, clothes, electronic gadgets and other gifts your child had on the “wish list” last holiday season, odds are that list was missing what could be the most important gift of all: A college savings account.
What if the gift of a college education could be had for just $53 a month for the next 18 holiday seasons? That’s about how much it would cost to purchase a 2-Year Florida College Plan for a newborn. And unlike the latest Fisher Price toy or video game, the gift of a college education is lasting and generates a lifetime of benefits and financial advantages.
- According to a study by Georgetown University, an individual with a bachelor’s degree can earn up to $1.6 million more over their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma.
- According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, it is estimated that two-thirds of job openings will require postsecondary education within the next five years.
By giving your child a college savings account as a gift, you are sending a very clear and important message: We expect you to go to college, and we are committed to saving for that goal. That expectation will serve as a backdrop throughout their K-12 schooling – a constant whispering reminder of why their homework, study periods and test performance matters.
In Sallie Mae’s 2015 How America Pays for College report, two in five families reported having created a plan to pay for all years of college before their child ever enrolled. And those with plans were twice as likely as non-planners to strongly agree that the family expected the student to attend college, and a greater proportion strongly agreed they were willing to stretch financially to obtain college for the student.
By saving early, a family can make that financial stretch less difficult. The Florida Prepaid College Board makes the process of saving for college more affordable by allowing families to prepay, on a monthly or lump-sum basis, the future cost of college tuition and specified fees. The younger your child, the more years you have to save, and the lower the monthly payments. The key is to start saving for college as soon as you can, because before you know it, their last holiday break as a high school student will be here.
Fortunately for Florida families, one of the five Florida Prepaid Plans is especially designed for “gifting” and starts at just $46 a month this year. The 1-Year Florida University Plan covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees at a State University for 30 credit hours – one quarter of the 120 credit hours typically needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree. This is the most affordable Prepaid Plan and allows extended family members or friends to each purchase a year toward the same beneficiary.
Imagine a stocking filled with Florida Prepaid gift certificates – the gift of a college education. No batteries or assembly required!
Open Enrollment runs through February 29, 2016.
Family Homework Assignment: Learn more about the 1-Year Florida University Plan, which is set up so that families can “gift” the plan for a beneficiary. Information at www.myfloridaprepaid.com. Starting is Believing.