What Does Prepaid Really Pay For?
Many of us who have lived in Florida, planned for our students’ education by taking advantage of the Florida Prepaid program. The program allows families to prepay for their child’s education at a guaranteed fixed rate. Many of us, also, were practically in shock when our last payment came due, possibly because that meant that college was right around the bend.
If you are anything like me you made your payments habitually, but when it came time to actually register my kids for a university in the state of Florida, we weren’t completely sure what all those years of payments were going to cover. Now we know.
We will admit we learned along the way. For instance, we did not pay for dorms for more than one year as we were advised not to since many students choose not to live in the dorms beyond freshman year. This was good advice. We did not pay for fees for our oldest; mostly because we couldn’t imagine it would amount to much. Then some wise friends with older students explained and we quickly jumped on the bandwagon to pay them. At that point, it was too late for our oldest, but we were sure to pay for fees through Florida Prepaid for our younger ones as fees, like tuition and housing, can only go up as time goes on. Lock it in while you can.
Here is some of what we learned…
There are some dorms that are considered “upgrades” from what is allotted by the Prepaid program. You are permitted to pay the differential, which may be a few hundred dollars a semester, but there are plenty of nice dorms that are covered under the plan as well.
Florida Prepaid will usually pay for Study Abroad depending on several factors including the number of credit hours the student will receive during the study abroad program, the rate that Florida Prepaid is paying per credit hour, and the total dollar amount that has been accrued in the student’s prepaid account. Students do need to notify their study abroad program of their intention to apply to fund the student’s study abroad program.
What does Florida Prepaid pay per credit?
If you have the Florida Prepaid tuition plan, it will pay $117.08 per credit hour for the 2018-2019 academic years. You can multiply this amount by the number of hours registered to determine the total amount to be paid by Florida Prepaid.
When It Disperses:
Generally Florida Prepaid disperses to your students account 2-4 weeks after the start of classes. If your student is receiving any financial aid, like Bright Futures, it will be used to only pay those charges left unpaid by Florida Prepaid and they will refund any excess financial aid to you. Each college is slightly different in this regard. We recommend watching your student’s account closely.
Can you get your money back from Florida Prepaid?
Yes, you may cancel your plan and request a refund equal to the payments that you have made, less any fees, usage, and refunds. Plan benefits can be transferred from one student to a family member of the student, which is great if your oldest graduated early and there are some leftover funds.
Does It Expire?
The plan gives up to 10 years from the projected college enrollment year to use their Prepaid Plan.
Can I use Florida Prepaid for an Out of State College?
If your student attends an out-of-state college or private college, the plan will pay the same amount as it would pay at a public college or university in Florida.
Can I use my plan to pay for the cost of graduate or professional school?
Plan benefits may be applied to the cost of graduate-level courses. The plan will pay the average in-state undergraduate rate per credit hour for these courses. Any remaining cost will be the responsibility of the student.
What if My Student Got a Scholarship?
Prepaid Plans also work with scholarships, including Bright Futures, and can be used together to cover even more college expenses. Bright Futures, at present awards Academic Scholars $212.71 per credit hour. The Florida Medallion Scholars Award is $159.53 per credit hour. The Academic Top Scholars Award is $44 per credit hour.
What is the differential fee?
This fee is charged to every undergraduate course and is included in the tuition per credit hour cost. This fee is used to fund undergraduate instruction and support services, like the gym and various services throughout campus. Note: All 4-Year University and 2 + 2 Prepaid Plans purchased before 2007 are exempt from paying the Tuition Differential Fee. So, while it’s not covered in your plan, you won’t have to worry about paying it. These are not the same and campus fees, which the plan does not cover.
Who Pays the Tuition?
If you have Florida Prepaid then they will pay it directly to the school.
What If My Student Drops A Class?
If your student drops a class after the drop/add period, you will not be able to get your money back but you do not have to pay it back (it’s your money); Bright Futures is what you have to pay back since it is a scholarship.
Check out our Money, Money, Money blog specific to your university for more details and information on more fun stuff like 529’s and loans. Still looking for more information about what the fees mean?
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