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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Prepaid investors soon may have more places to go



When Florida lawmakers created the state's prepaid college tuition program, the goal was to lock in affordable rates for Floridians to get an advanced education.

In the years since, the state has expanded the range of schools where investors could use their accounts. It added vocational programs about 10 years ago, and proprietary schools about four years later.

Now lawmakers are talking about adding another group of schools to the mix -- any "eligible education institution as defined in s. 529 of the Internal Revenue Code." The bill is sailing through the House and Senate.

"What this does is bring the prepaid plan on the same playing field with the investment plan," said sponsor Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka. (Read the House staff analysis for more details.)

Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, has raised one yellow flag. He has noted that some of the credits generated at some of the schools that would be added to the list will not necessarily transfer easily to other universities and colleges.

But that doesn't look like something to kill the proposal.

Proctor, who's also chancellor of Flagler College, voted for the measure in the State Universities and Private Colleges Policy Committee this week with the caveat that the issue should get some added consideration before a final vote.

If the proposal makes it to the end of the session, it would affect all 800,000 or so Florida Prepaid contracts on the books, plus all those that follow. Stay tuned.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:17am]


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