If you’ve ever owned a cell phone, purchased a home, or vacationed at a resort, you’ve had to pay a variety of “fees”. Whether they’re called surcharges or luxury taxes, for amenities you did not use during your stay, they are part of the big picture. They are your responsibility and they add up.
The same is true of the full price ticket to your child’s education. Florida’s public universities have additional fees beyond tuition and room and board.
College Costs: Local Fees
Every school imposes these mandatory fees -- even if your child does not take advantage of any of these services. This line item on the school’s budget supports a wide variety of campus facilities. Your savings plan in turn, should be just as clear-cut.
Fortunately, the Florida PrePaid College Plan makes provision for you to prepay for these, in addition to saving for the actual tuition.
Unlike some of those vague cell phone surcharges, these Local Fees are specific, covering the costs for the on-campus expenses of:
- Activities and services
- Health fees
- Athletic fees
(There is also a Technology Fee that according to MyFloridaPrePaid.com, is covered only by 2-Year Florida College and 4-Year Florida College Plans or their associated Local Fee Plans purchased after July 1, 1999.)
College Costs: Housing
Living independently and being academically successful may be mutually exclusive when it comes to your child. He or she will eventually achieve the maturity needed to live in a dorm at some point during their college years. Like any other college costs, pre-planning will bode well for your budget and position you for future tuition increases.
In addition to establishing your Florida PrePaid College Plan, you can also purchase up to four years in one-year increments for dormitory accommodations. These options can vary depending on the school, although there is not an unlimited number of Dormitory Plans for purchase.
There are typically three payment preferences from which to choose:
- Fifty-five months
- Lump sum
…to support a range of budgets. The Dormitory Plan itself covers costs for a standard, double-occupancy dormitory room at any state university.
If your budget can bear it, we recommend pre-paying both the Local Fees and the Dormitory Plan. In the event you don’t need to use these monies, your school account will be credited and can be used to pay for other university expenses. Excess money is refunded to you at the current rate, not the rate you paid into the plan.
If you would like help choosing and investing in a 529 or College PrePaid Plan, please contact me at email@example.com or (813) 282-7870. While we believe a college education is important, we also understand it is expensive, and the process is daunting.
We do not charge fees for helping with 529 Plan accounts. We get two benefits from helping you: 1) as parents ourselves, we feel good about setting you and your child on the correct path to pay for college and 2) it enables us the opportunity to begin a discussion about your other investment needs.
If you have a question beyond the scope of this article, feel free to visit our “Ask Us a Question” page or leave a comment below so we may assist you with your specific situation.