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Florida Prepaid Tuitional Differential Fee Plan FAQs

cybermomcybermom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
edited October 2011 in Florida State University
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 Plan’s four-year university tuition plan will continue to cover regular tuition at the state’s 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.
Post edited by cybermom on

Replies to: Florida Prepaid Tuitional Differential Fee Plan FAQs

  • cybermomcybermom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    If your child is past 8th grade, you can't buy the tuition differential plan so you are going to have to come up with the money some other way.

    If you are a current owner of the plan, you don't have to pay the tuition differential fee so thank goodness we don't have to worry in our case.
  • cybermomcybermom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    As far as the Bright Futures scholarship is concerned...
    The 5% tuition increase at all universities will be covered.
    The tuition differential fee will NOT be covered.
  • cjmcjm Posts: 105Registered User Junior Member
    Hope I can get this thread going again. . .
    S has had the FL Prepaid (tuition only) since he was a baby and is now going out-of-state to college. The Prepaid office told me that the tuition rate is currently $86.01 a credit hour. So that's it?! He almost went to FSU where the differential fee is imposed and tuition would have been over $100/hr. But we only get the lowest tuition rate applied to OS?
    What else should I expect but the lowest rate?
  • cybermomcybermom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    My friend tried to use Florida prepaid at Georgia Tech and she said it really did not pay to use it for OOS and she decided instead to pass it on to one of her two newly adopted little girls. It is really fantastic if you use it for instate public tuition and are exempt from the differential since you bought the plan when your son was a baby especially if you bought the local fee plan as well.

    FSU Tuition Spring 2008 was $86.01 per credit, local fees are $23.18 per credit, transportation fee is $6.50 per credit (not covered by prepaid local fee plan), FSUcard fee is $5 per semester.

    I don't see how much the tuition differential fee will be on their web site but you would have been exempt from paying it.

    You only bought the tuition plan and not the local fee plan nor the dorm plan. Future prepaid plan owners can also buy the optional tuition differential fee plan.
  • cjmcjm Posts: 105Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks cybermom! That is something to think about--using it for a sibling. S1 got a great scholarship so the FL prepaid is a drop in the bucket. Don't expect S2 to get that kind of scholarship so prepaid would help out. And perhaps S2 would stay in-state! So could transfer S1 funds to S2?
  • cybermomcybermom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    Here is the link that explains the rules for beneficiary changes:
    Florida Prepaid College Plan
  • cjnaplescjnaples Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I believe the differential fee is a way of getting out of paying the full tuition reimbursement to families that choose to go to out of state schools. The promise was full reimbursement of tuition at whatever the rate was at the time your child goes to college. Creating this bogus new tuition is a way of cheating people out of full reimbursement. I believe this will eventually be legally challenged, but will likely take years. Some bright attorney will soon enough figure this is a large lucrative lawsuit waiting to happen. My children are still in kindergarten and elementary school so hopefully this will be resolved by the time it becomes and issue for us.
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Posts: 7,954Registered User Senior Member
    A little necrothreadia? :)
  • SweetheartCrocSweetheartCroc Posts: 485Registered User Member
    I know I am continuing the necrothead, but I can't resist.

    Personally, I wouldn't depend on the pre paid-college program. It is likely that the state is simply not going to be able to keep up with it in the long-term without major reforms to higher education. It's going to be like pensions and social security. At some point, they are just going figure out a loophole to get out of paying 100 percent of what they agreed to.

    I wish I had a good answer about what to do, but the costs of tuition (not just in Florida) are just getting out of control. The Florida schools are raising tuition by 15 percent per year indefinitely. Their justification is that they are cheap relative to other states. I'm not picking on Florida schools specifically, they are actually relatively efficient compared to other states, but this is basically turning into a never-ending arms race with the end goal of climbing up the USNews rankings.

    Unfortunately, any reform will have to be nationwide. If Florida starts cutting costs and salaries, you'll see an exodus of talent to other states. It is going take an act of congress (literally) to get this problem fixed. Tuition has been rising at at least 150 percent of inflation for decades. This can't go on forever.
  • Matt125Matt125 Posts: 762Registered User Member
    According to Dr. Barron at the Town Hall meeting, FSU has the highest US News ranking (101) of any school with less or equivalent funding.

    In other words, we're doing everything we can with the resources we have. I hate paying more in tuition as much as the next guy, but if the state is going to cut funding for all universities, we're either going to have to pay more in tuition, or freefall in the rankings with other less respected public schools such as West Virginia.
  • SweetheartCrocSweetheartCroc Posts: 485Registered User Member
    I agree that Florida cannot simply start slashing costs alone. This will cause faculty to flee the state. Any solution needs to be a nationally coordinated response.
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