One of the best features of the Florida Prepaid College Plan is the comfort with knowing a good chunk, if not all, of your child’s or grandchild’s education costs are covered. When you purchase a Florida Prepaid Plan, you don’t have to worry about how much college or university costs go up in the future, so long as they go to an eligible school based on the plan you select. These plans are potentially great options for people who can afford either an up-front payment or regular monthly payments, and have a child or grandchild that will likely go to a Florida public school, and want to lock in today's tuition rates without seeing a chance of an increase. In fact, if tuition rates don't increase, you may even end up with lower payments or a refund in the future, as is happening this year. Other people may find other accounts or methods of saving for college to be more appealing.
Florida Prepaid rates are calculated based on tuition costs, anticipated future school costs, and estimated investment returns. For the past six years, Florida college tuition rates have remained stagnant. The Florida Prepaid College Board decided that is was possible to lower specific prepaid prices without jeopardizing coverage for future costs. Not only will these lower costs have impacts for new enrollees, but current Prepaid Plan owners also benefit from refund options without a reduction in coverage.
In January, Florida Prepaid announced it would be refunding $500 million to roughly 100,000 Floridians who bought into the program after 2008. On average, refunds are about $4,700. Florida Prepaid sent emails to eligible participants for a refund, yet nearly half of the money remains unclaimed almost nine months later, leaving $225 million waiting for its rightful owner. Being eligible for a refund does not automatically secure your refund. While it is your money you must put forth an effort to collect it. Continue reading to see how you can determine if you qualify, what options you have, and how to apply.
Do you qualify for a Florida Prepaid Plan Refund?
- Did you purchase a Florida Prepaid College Plan in 2008 or later? The refund does not apply to the 529 savings plan.
- Is your prepaid plan fully paid for?
- Students must be projected to be enrolled in college during 2020 or later.
- The refund applies to multiple plans per family.
What are your options?
If your plan is not fully paid for, and you are making regular payments, those payments are due on the 20th of each month. While you will not qualify for a refund, your monthly required monthly payments will be lower going forward. Your new payment is provided online on the payment details tab. If you are currently making payments via ACH, no action is necessary, payments have continued at the updated lower monthly amount. Once your plan is paid in full, your ACH is canceled. If you are making payments through payroll deduction or online banking, and you would like to reduce your monthly payments, you will need to contact your employer or banking provider to make the adjustments. Of course, if your financial situation permits, you can continue with the higher payments, and you will be paid in full sooner than expected.
If your Prepaid plan is paid in full, the eligible refunds will create an overpayment, and you qualify for a refund. If your finances permit, it’s a great time to allocate your newfound money to help cover the costs of other college expenses like books, room and board, supplies, and computers. Florida Prepaid will allow you to contribute your refund or any portion of your refund directly to a Florida 529 Savings Plan. Of course, 2020 has been a financially challenging year for some. A refund may be helpful to cover shortfalls in your current budget.
How do you claim your refund?
To request your refund, you can either contact Florida Prepaid by phone or online.
- Call 1-800-552-4723.
- Press prompt 2 for current Florida Prepaid Account Information
- The phone rep will be able to assist you with requesting a refund.
Sign into your online Florida Prepaid account or register for online access as an existing customer.
- You will need your Florida Prepaid plan number to create an online account.
- Once logged in, go to the plan details tab.
- Choose the plan for the student that you would like to view
- Scroll to the Financial Overview section; if a refund is available, select the red button labeled “overpayment refund.”
- Validate your address
- Choose your refund option.
- You may select all or any part of the amount for each refund option.
Once submitted, your refund should arrive within 6-8 weeks. If you requested a check, it would come from the State Board of Administration, so be on the lookout for it and don’t mistake it for junk mail.
Additional information about the Florida Prepaid program can be found online.
Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.