When my husband read the details of the article to me from the paper on Sunday, I wanted to cry. I am planner, and I am a squirrel. I am always stocking so money away somewhere for the future – retirement, college fund, loss of job, whatever. I am that girl who puts money away.
Naturally, as soon as the Florida Prepaid College Plan opened its enrollment after K was born, I enrolled her. After all, the plan put me through college at UF because my parents bought it when I was a kid. I know the value of the plan, and I know putting money into it now will save money in the long run.
Even with my first-hand experience with the plan, I did my homework. There are basically four things to buy (with minor variations) – tuition, local fees, differential and dormitory. While I knew we would eventually want all of these, in the fall of 2008, I also knew my family was heading into a monetarily rocky year. Even though these plans are subject to price increases each year, we wanted to make sure that I wasn’t squirreling away too much.
We decided to tackle the four-year tuition plan aggressively in five years. Later, we could add on the smaller, additional plans – the differential fee plan, then local fees and finally one year of dormitory in the coming years.
My shock and dismay came when I learned that our decision to wait to start paying for the differential fee has cost our family $13,000 in less than a year. Yes, $13,000. That is how much our state officals have decided to hike the differential fee plan in just one year – more than 300%.
Here’s the real kicker, tuition only went up 10%. The “differential fees” now cost more than a four-year college tuition plan. Nice way to “keep tuition down.”
If those of us with toddlers who plan and save are crushed by this hike, how are those who are inches away from college and don’t have time to plan for this hike supposed to cope? In one year, the cost of my daughter’s college tuition more than doubled and she is only 18 months old…
Read the Orlando Sentinel’s article here.
Learn more about the Florida Prepaid College Plan here.0