This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
5 Ways Grandparents Can Help Florida Kids Pay for College
I try to avoid controversial topics here, but I have to ask:
Mets or Yankees?
Vic and the girls and I are not big “sportsball” fans (although I do love my Gator football). But my parents are a different story. They’re both native New Yorkers and lifelong Mets fans.
One of the cool things about living in Florida is Spring Training for Major League Baseball. During February and March, Florida hosts 15 Major League Baseball teams for their annual Spring Training. Last March for my dad’s birthday, my mom brought all of us to a Mets Spring Training game, and we’re doing it again this year. (Hopefully Tim Tebow will stay uninjured this season!)
Even though baseball isn’t our thing, the joy on my dad’s face made it totally worth it. He and my mom kept score in their program. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but it was pretty cute. They got their pictures on the jumbotron too! And the food was awesome. But really, the best part was being together as a family.
Leave a Lasting Legacy
The upcoming baseball game got me thinking about grandparents and all the ways they can make a lasting impact. The most important of these, of course, is simply to love their grandchildren and make memories with them. They can share their heritage and family history through mementos, photographs, and stories. And they can impart their values and beliefs.
By sharing their wisdom and life experience, grandparents are helping lay the groundwork for the future. Truly, many of the lessons from my grandparents remain with me today. But if they are looking for tangible ways to lay the groundwork for their grandchild’s future success, helping with college savings is a fantastic (and easy) option.
5 Ways to Help Your Florida Grandkids Pay for College
(Note: Florida Prepaid Plans are designed to be used at a Florida College or State University, but they can be opened by any adult who is a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident.)
1. Purchase a Florida Prepaid Plan: Prepaid Plans aren’t just for parents – grandparents can buy them too! In 2019, a 4-Year Florida University Plan for a newborn will cost about $186/month and will cover the cost of college tuition by the time the child graduates from high school. Grandparents may be in a good position to commit to this type of monthly payment. For a relatively small amount of money each month, they can literally make a lifelong difference in their grandchild’s life. (Check the “Plans & Pricing” tab for a calculator to determine rates based on your child’s age.)
2. Purchase a 1-Year Florida University Plan: Of course, if that type of monthly payment isn’t in the budget, there are lots of other options to consider. A 2-Year Florida College Plan will cost about $55/month for a newborn. This is the most affordable way for your student to earn an AA degree from a Florida College, and it also guarantees admission to one of Florida’s 12 State Universities. Or a 1-Year Florida University Plan is even more affordable, at just $47/month for a newborn. For the cost of a couple of dinners out, grandparents can help in a major way.
3. Purchase a Dormitory Plan: The cost of housing is not included in a Florida Prepaid Plan, and this can be an expense that sneaks up on even the most prepared parent! Another way for grandparents to help is by covering the cost of a dormitory housing plan with Florida Prepaid. Dormitory housing coverage can be added to a Florida Prepaid Plan with university tuition coverage during the initial enrollment period or during a later one (as long as the student is in 11th grade or below at the time). For a newborn, a Dormitory Plan begins at about $48/month.
4. Open a Florida 529 Savings Plan: A Florida 529 Savings Plan can be opened by any adult who is a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident. A 529 Savings Plan allows you to decide how much you want to save, when you want to save, and how you want to invest your savings. There’s no application fee or minimum contribution to get started, and savings can put used for tuition, room and board, books, fees, and other qualified educational expenses. There are pros and cons to both types of plans (Prepaid Plans and 529 Savings Plans), so visit myfloridaprepaid.com to read more and learn which one is right for you.
5. Give Your Grandchild a Gift Certificate from Florida Prepaid: Grandparents can easily contribute to a child’s education by making a gift contribution to their Florida Prepaid College Plan and/or 529 Savings Plan. It’s as easy as filling out a form and writing a check, and it’s the perfect gift option for a special occasion (I’m thinking Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, milestone birthdays, etc).
Note to Parents: Florida Prepaid makes it easy for loved ones to contribute to a Florida 529 Savings Plan by offering an “eGift” option. Account holders can log in and click on the “eGift” tab, and then follow prompts to have an eGift email invitation sent to the contacts they choose. It’s really no different than having your kid make a “wishlist” on Amazon and sending it to friends & families before special occasions (some of my friends do this, and it makes gift giving a thousand times easier).
Enlist Your Village
According to research from Fidelity (source), only 4 in 10 high net worth grandparents are helping with their grandchildren’s college savings, even though 74 percent would be willing to do so. Parents: why not enlist the proverbial village and ask for their help?
Florida Prepaid Open Enrollment runs until 4/30/19, so now’s the time to ask! Remember to use promo code RUNSIT19 to save $30 on your enrollment fee. Any questions? Ask in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer or direct you to the right place for more info. Your best bet for the most accurate info is to call 1-800-552-4723 or visit myfloridaprepaid.com.