TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Prepaid College Board are reminding families during College Savings Month this September that Florida offers families easy and smart ways to save for their children's college education. The good news is that more parents are saving for their children's college education, as reported in a just-released annual survey conducted by the College Savings Foundation. However, a third surveyed said that it would be easier to save with "more savings awareness" and that "society is still too revolved around spending."
"The time to begin saving is now. For more than 20 years, the Florida Prepaid College Plan has
helped families provide their children and grandchildren a college education and a better chance for future success and opportunity," Governor Charlie Crist states. "By giving our children the tools to succeed, we are giving our state the ability to thrive for generations to come."
The College Savings Foundation's survey consistently shows parents using 529 college savings plans, tax-sheltered college savings tools, are more successful savers than those without them. Florida Prepaid offers two 529 plan options: the Florida Prepaid College Plans and the Florida College Investment Plan. Open enrollment to lock in this year's prepaid plan prices starts October 18, 2010.
"Families who are busy raising their children may think they can't afford college savings," Chairman Duane Ottenstroer of the Florida Prepaid College Board says. "Yet Florida Prepaid College Plans offer a variety of college savings options for families at all savings levels."
The Florida Prepaid College Board encourages families to research their college savings options this month and wants to dispel a few common savings misconceptions:
Myth: If our family leaves Florida, then the money in a Florida college savings plan can't be used at colleges in other states.
Fact: The full value of a Florida Prepaid College Plan, what would be paid to a Florida public university or Florida college, can be transferred to most out-of-state or private colleges. A Florida College Investment Plan can be used to cover any qualified higher education costs at accredited colleges, universities and graduate schools throughout the U.S.
Myth: If my child receives a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, it would be a waste of money to have purchased a Florida Prepaid College Plan.
Fact: Starting last fall, Bright Futures no longer covers the full cost of tuition. Most students who have both a Prepaid College Plan and Bright Futures are able to more fully cover the costs of college because the two can be used together. In addition, all students are not academically eligible for Bright Futures, and they must maintain a certain GPA in college to keep the scholarship.
Myth: Having a tax-free 529 college savings plan will significantly affect my child's eligibility to receive financial aid.
Fact: Section 529 college savings plans are considered assets of the account owner, not the beneficiary, so there is a low impact on a student's financial aid eligibility.
Myth: I lose control over the assets in my Florida Prepaid College Plans if my child does not attend college.
Fact: If the beneficiary of either the Prepaid College Plan or College Investment Plan decides not to attend college, the plan may be transferred to another member of the beneficiary's family. Or, families can receive full refunds.
Myth: There's no need to purchase a 529 college savings plan, since my family could just save monthly for a college education without one.
Fact: 529 plans, like Florida's Prepaid College Plan and College Investment Plan, are tax-free under the federal Internal Revenue Code, which means the earnings will not be taxed as long as the money is spent on college-related costs.
Additionally, the Florida Prepaid College Plan is financially guaranteed by the State of Florida*, so you don't have to worry about losing your money and can get a refund at any time, for any reason. The state guarantees plans will cover all promised tuition, housing or fees at the time a student attends college.
More information on Florida Prepaid College Plans is available at www.myfloridaprepaid.com or by calling 1-800-552-GRAD (4723).
* Florida Prepaid College Plans offers two different plans: the Florida Prepaid College Plan and the Florida College Investment Plan. The Florida Prepaid College Plan is a prepaid plan and is guaranteed by the State of Florida pursuant to s. 1009.98(7), Florida Statutes. Florida's state universities and state colleges may impose fees not covered by the Prepaid Plans described above. The Florida College Investment Plan is a college savings plan, is not guaranteed, principal and investment returns will fluctuate, and you could lose all or a portion of your investment. Participation in the Florida College Investment Plan will be sold only by means of a Disclosure Statement and Participation Agreement. A copy of each will be sent to you upon request; you should read them before investing. Nothing in this press release should be construed as financial, investment, legal or tax advice. Consult your own advisors before investing.
SOURCE Florida Prepaid College Plans