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Families Can Jump Start College Savings By Using Income Tax Refunds, Economic Stimulus Checks To Open a Florida College Investment Plan.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Tax season is here again. As parents and grandparents roll up their sleeves to review their family's finances, what better time to think about planning ahead and saving for college?

Families can financially prepare for their children's and grandchildren's college education by using this year's income tax return or economic stimulus check to enroll in the tax-free Florida College Investment Plan(a).

The Florida College Investment Plan is a 529 college savings plan that allows families to save tax-free for their children's and grandchildren's future college education. It is managed by the Florida Prepaid College Board, a state agency, and was established in 2002.

Justine Kellner McGeehan enrolled her grandchildren, 6-year-old Genevieve and 8-year-old Marcus, in the Florida College Investment Plan by giving them each $250 to open an account. The children's parents, Holly and Mark Greuling of Tallahassee, contribute monthly to the College Investment Plans and also purchased Florida Prepaid College Plans for Genevieve and Marcus.

"Every grandparent would like to see their grandchildren get a college education," McGeehan said. "You want the best for them and one of the best things you can give them is a head start towards a college education."

"We know how important a college education is to increase a person's earning potential, and we also know that since our kids are so close in age, they both will probably be in college at the same time," Holly Greuling said.

With the Florida College Investment Plan, families can save at a pace that fits their budget. They can begin with either a $250 contribution or a $25 a month automatic bank withdrawal. They decide how much they can afford to increase their college savings. The plan can be used for qualified higher education expenses at accredited public and private universities, colleges and technical schools throughout the U.S. Families may receive information and enroll online at or by calling 1-800-552-GRAD.

"With the Florida College Investment Plan, families choose how much to save and their investment options, based on their needs and what they can afford," said Chairman Ted Hoepner of the Florida Prepaid College Board. "The Florida College Investment Plan can be used on its own or combined with a Florida Prepaid College Plan to cover additional college expenses."


27,366 participants

$5,579 average account balance

$147.9 million, market value of investments


Initial deposit: $250 or $25 a month automatic bank withdrawal

Investment options: Fixed Income; U.S. Equity; Balanced Investment; Age-Based/Years to Enrollment; Money Market

Tax benefits: Withdrawals are tax-free if spent on qualified college expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and equipment required by a college or graduate school

Fees: $50 application fee; annual administration fee of 3/4 of 1 percent

Residency: Florida residency is not required for account owner or beneficiary (student)

More information: Go to or call 1-800-552-GRAD (4723)

(a) The Florida College Investment Plan is not a prepaid plan. Investments in the plan are not insured or guaranteed, and you could lose all or a portion of your investment. Participation in the plan will be sold only by means of a Disclosure Statement and Participation Agreement. A copy of each will be sent to you upon request; you should read them before investing. Nothing in this e-mail should be construed as financial, investment, legal or tax advice. Consult your own advisors before investing.

For more information, contact Diane Hirth, Florida Prepaid College Board, at (850) 488-8514 or e-mail her at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 6, 2008
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