FLORIDA -- My son is about to experience his first Christmas season, and this time of year makes me even more grateful for the gift that he is to our family. But as my husband and I start to think about our baby’s first gifts from “Santa,” I have incredible peace of mind in knowing that we have already gotten him the best present possible: the gift of college.
We purchased a Florida Prepaid Plan for our son shortly after he was born, saving for his college tuition in a risk-free, tax-free plan that protects us from future tuition increases and allows us to spread out the cost between now and his high school graduation.
As far off as college is for him, I always knew a prepaid plan would be part of his upbringing – because it was a part of mine, and my sisters and brother. Our parents set up prepaid plans for all of us, and this allowed me to graduate from Florida State University debt-free. The feeling of graduating without the burden of student loans was incredibly freeing, and I was so grateful to my parents for giving me that gift.
If you are a parent, whether your child is still crawling or already old enough to master multiplication, I encourage you to start saving toward their college expenses. When a child knows their college fund is growing, it grows their own expectations for themselves. My sisters and brother and I never wondered if we would go to college – we knew our parents believed in us enough to save for the cost, so we knew we would get our college degrees. And what a gift of confidence and belief that was for us!
Florida families are especially fortunate to have the option of Florida Prepaid Plans. These plans are available exclusively to Florida residents and are part of the longest-running and largest prepaid program in the nation. At a time when fewer states have prepaid plans covering tuition, Florida’s program is robust and thriving as it enters its 32nd year. Plans start around $45 a month – about the cost of a dollhouse or a few action hero figurines.
Remote control cars break. LEGO sets get lost. Dolls lose their luster. But the gift of college is forever. And it’s a gift that multiple family members can be a part of, through gift contributions to a child’s plan. So add this to your holiday shopping to-do list: Research college savings at myfloridaprepaid.com.
Krista Stanley is an instructional coach at Yearling Middle School in Okeechobee and was the 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year.