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Tuition Differential Fee
Frequently Asked Questions
How New Tuition Differential Fee
Affects Florida Prepaid College Plan Families
Q. What is the new tuition differential fee?
A. The tuition differential fee, approved by the 2007 Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist, allows research-level universities to raise revenue to hire additional faculty and academic advisors. The revenue must be spent solely for improving the quality of direct undergraduate instruction and support services, according to the law.
Q. How much is the tuition differential fee?
A. The new fee can be as much as 40 percent of regular tuition at Level 1 research universities and up to 30 percent of regular tuition at Level 2 research universities. Currently, the University of Florida and Florida State University meet the Level 1 criteria set forth in Florida statutes, and University of South Florida meets the Level 2 criteria. Overall, the sum of regular tuition and the tuition differential fee can increase no more than 15 percent a year.
Q. When does the tuition differential fee go into effect?
A. Governor Crist has stated that the affected universities agreed to postpone imposing the fee until fall 2008.
Q. Who will have to pay the tuition differential fee?
A. Newly enrolled undergraduates at UF, FSU and USF must pay the fee, including students with Bright Futures scholarships. Newly enrolled students include freshmen and transfers.
Q. Who is exempt from paying the tuition differential fee?
A. Families that currently have either a University Tuition or University plus Community College Plan contract are exempt from paying the tuition differential fee now or at any time in the future. The exemption applies to all beneficiaries whose University Tuition or University plus Community College Tuition Plans were purchased as of January 31, 2007, the conclusion of the most recent open enrollment period. Also exempt are students on needs-based financial aid.
Q. What if I submitted a Prepaid College Plan application after the January 31, 2007 conclusion of the last annual open enrollment period?
A. Under administrative rules governing the Florida Prepaid College Plan, applications received after the January 31, 2007 enrollment deadline will be processed for data collection and administrative purposes but will not accepted by the Board until the next open enrollment period.
Q. If I submit an application now for a Prepaid College tuition plan, or purchase a tuition plan during the October 15, 2007 through January 31, 2008 open enrollment period, will my tuition plan cover the new tuition differential fee?
A. No. The Florida Prepaid College Plans four-year university tuition plan will continue to cover regular tuition at the states 11 universities, but does not cover the additional tuition differential fee.
Q. How can I save for the additional cost of a tuition differential fee?
A. A separate Florida Prepaid College Plan to cover the tuition differential fee will be offered by the Florida Prepaid College Board as of the October 15, 2007 start of the upcoming 2007-08 open enrollment period.
As an alternative, families can begin saving tax free today in the Florida College Investment Plan, also offered by the Board. The College Investment Plan is a tax-free savings plan covering college expenses such as tuition, fees, books, room and board. However unlike the guarantee attached to the Prepaid College Plan, the College Investment Plan carries with it the risks of investing.