I started college shortly after the 2008 recession hit, devastating the economy and spreading financial uncertainty. But I remember being at peace about the cost of college because my family had saved for my postsecondary education with a Florida Prepaid Plan. The economy was tanking, but my tuition was covered.
My Florida Prepaid Plan covered my bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Florida. And because I qualified for the Bright Futures scholarship which also covers tuition, I got money back every semester that I could use for books, housing and other college expenses. I was even able to apply some of savings toward my master’s degree from Florida State University.
Having the Prepaid Plan meant I did not have to work. I could double down my focus on academics, while enjoying just being a college student. Now, almost a decade later, I am happily “doubling down” on Prepaid Plans — having Florida Prepaid set up for our toddler Carter, who will be 2 in July; and planning the same for her sister who is due to be born in May.
I own a CPA firm here in Tampa, so every day I counsel clients on how to be smart about their finances. There are lots of ways to save for college, and a family’s strategy can involve more than one type of savings vehicle.
Because of my own experience benefiting from Florida Prepaid, and because as a CPA I now understand the low-risk, high-value proposition of Prepaid Plans, I often recommend Prepaid Plans to at least lock down tuition costs for families. When you buy a Plan, you are locking in today’s prices to cover future tuition. And Florida Prepaid guarantees tuition coverage – meaning no matter how much tuition actually goes up between now and when our Carter is 18, for example, Prepaid will cover the cost.
That is an incredible guarantee, especially at a time when just about everything is subject to inflation. Prepaid Plans are inflation-proof.
When Carter was born in the summer of 2021, my wife and I got her the 1-Year University Plan, which starts at just $45 a month for a newborn. My father got her two 1-Year University Plans, and my wife’s parents got her another 1-Year University Plan. So by stacking the plans together, she has tuition plans covering 4 years of postsecondary education.
These Prepaid Plans are truly the best gift we could ever give Carter. It is almost overwhelming to think about how many loved ones also have a stake in her future, and it gives us such peace knowing her college tuition is totally covered.
As we prepare for her sister’s arrival, there is so much we cannot predict about life with two girls under 2 in our home. (Much less future life with two teenage girls under one roof!) But one thing we can predict: Both girls will grow up with Prepaid Plans, and their college journeys will be debt-free.
Casey Davis, CPA, owner and principal of Strategic CPAs + Advisors based in Tampa.