Thousands of Florida families with pre-paid tuition plans are going to get refunds or see a drop in their payments.
The board that oversees the state’s popular prepaid college plan approved new prices for the upcoming year on Thursday.
Those prices will drop some plans to their lowest levels since 2007. The board also announced that nearly $200 million will be refunded to 18,000 families. More than 22,000 families will see a reduction in their monthly payments.
The price drop is a result of new laws that limit how much state universities can increase tuition each year without legislative approval. Gov. Rick Scott pushed for the change.
“With this change in law, we are able to reinforce and continue our mission to provide Floridians with affordable college savings options,” said Florida Prepaid College Board Chairman Duane Ottenstroer. “The lower prices approved today mark a major milestone in the history of Florida Prepaid, and more importantly, a milestone in the path of opportunity for Florida students and their families.”
When Open Enrollment begins on Oct. 15, 2014, families will have the opportunity to purchase a 4-Year Florida University Plan without any change in Plan coverage for as low as $173 a month or a 2 + 2 Florida Plan for as low as $136 a month. These prices reflect up to a 50 percent decrease from last year.
“These families have worked hard to save for their children’s college education, and we are so pleased to be able to support their efforts by responding quickly to the changes in state tuition policy,” said Board Executive Director Kevin Thompson. “For our families, we know that every dollar saved matters.”
The dramatic reduction in prices is tied directly to the new law created by House Bill 851 and the fact that it reduces the maximum annual increase of the Tuition Differential Fee to six percent for preeminent State Universities and zero percent for all other State Universities. Previously, the Tuition Differential Fee could increase by up to 15 percent annually at all State Universities.
The number of families who are getting a payment reduction is less than what was estimated at the time Scott signed the bill.
Prepaid Plans will be available for purchase during Open Enrollment, Oct. 15, 2014 – Feb. 28, 2015.