More Cuts for Florida College Students
Miami, FL. (CollegetoCareers.com) – Continuing a trend in nationwide budget cuts to higher education, Florida’s Senate higher education budget committee continues to feel embattled after a proposal to slash the state’s Prepaid College program.
Florida senators suggested the cuts in an effort to cut costs and save state resources.
Florida’s Prepaid College program is the largest in the country. The Miami Herald reports that the state has given away more than 1.4 million plans since the late 1980’s.
Proponents of the program hold that parents can use it to access current rates for tuition and fees in order to pay for the future tuition of their children’s education.
The Miami Herald states that nearly 20 percent of Florida’s undergraduate students use the prepaid college program – making any financial pain more credible in the wake of proposed cuts.
Florida Sen. Evelyn Lynn, chairwoman of the budget committee, said that the prepaid program offers no serious long-term benefits. She proposes to cut future program enrollment and suggests no one would experience any drastic change as a result of its loss.
According to The Miami Herald, Sen. Lynn holds that a recent and continuing loss in stock value would slash Florida’s inability to pay for the program.
Investments that fail to come through for any promised contracts to students or their families would present the state with a tremendous liability, she says.
Supporters cite recent rises in tuition as hurting the program’s capabilities. When it was created, it only anticipated a seven to eight percent increase in tuition each year. Last year, however, Florida’s average undergraduate tuition increased by 15 percent.
The program works by locking in rates for parents when they pay for their children’s tuition, dorm costs or university fees all at once or in installments. Parents can opt to begin paying for the fees as early as when their child is an infant up through high school. This saves the parents thousands of dollars in cost. An expected rise in tuition by another 15 percent this year, however, would hurt the program and the state greatly.
As tuitions have risen, so has the cost of the prepaid program, making it unavailable to some parents. The cost now for the program can be as high as $46,000 over an 18-year period.