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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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For Florida Parents, the Future is Now   

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Few things in life are guaranteed, but many Florida parents can ensure a college education for their children by participating in the state's prepaid college plan. The annual sign-up period begins today. 

The Florida Prepaid College Plan allows parents to lock in college tuition and other fees at 2011 prices. Duane Ottenstroer, who chairs the Plan board, says today's economy gives parents even more reason to take a look at it.

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Florida Prepaid College Plans

"In current times of economic uncertainty and rising prices, the peace of mind for a family with the Florida Prepaid College Plan is more valuable than ever."

About 1.3 million students have enrolled in the program since it began in 1988, making it the nation's largest prepaid program. Currently, one in 10 Florida children is enrolled.

The plan does not guarantee admission to a Florida school or the quality of those schools. However, as an investment, the plan is not as risky as other tax-deferred options, Ottenstroer says, because it does not rely on the stock market. It also takes the risk out of the spiraling costs of going to college, he adds.

"College tuition in the state of Florida has increased at 6.5 percent a year over the past 20 years. This plan goes another 18 years in the future and continues to protect against those sorts of tuition increases."

Parents who want to sign up have until the end of January to submit an application.

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