Time is funny. It’s slow when you want it to go by fast, and fast when you want it to be slow. Many of us may have recently had more time to “slow down” physically, but mentally, life has been as “fast” as ever. For me, it has brought to mind joyful memories of the past, uncertainties of the present, and excitement for the future.
With those memories of the past, we think about those things we loved — the childhood memories we are able to now give our children during this “slow down” time. The present thoughts may be filled with immediate disappointment about the things we have missed and the uncertainty of “if and when” things will resume back to normal. And the future — it’s exciting, dreaming of where to go and what’s to come — whether it’s your favorite restaurant or vacation spot.
Or maybe it’s more. Maybe it’s dreams of the future and what it holds for your family. Re-evaluating what is important (and maybe not so important). Taking the time to look more closely at your goals, when the the world is a bit uncertain, and what you spend your money on. What values you hold dear. And how to plan for what’s to come, like one day seeing your kids in the graduation cap and gown and heading off to college.
The Past: The year 2020, seeing all the support for graduates has me thinking back to my own high school graduation 20 (eek!) years ago, the Class of 2000. My parents and I were recently talking about the speech when I introduced my twin brother (our class valedictorian) and how I told a graduation crowd of more than 1,000 about knowing him as the preschool kid who got a rock stuck in his nose, while others knew him as the head of the class. Those memories are happy (and funny!) and make me grateful for the planning and steps my own parents took to help us head on to college and the values they instilled in us about the importance of education.
The Present: My son was in VPK this year, ending our family’s preschool tenure of seven years, and we “missed” out on all those fun end-of-year, right-of-passage activities. Instead, we’ve been trying to distance learn and keep him and his elementary-age sister entertained. Resources his teachers have provided and family activities like this from Florida Prepaid have been positive and wonderful in filling this time, but it’s just not quite the same. Memories of my daughter enjoying that last year of preschool in VPK and the cute graduation ceremony that won’t happen dampen my present. Luckily, I captured these pictures at home, but it makes me think about the future. I can’t wait to see him in his own high school, and even college, graduation ceremony walking across that stage.
In the midst of all the uncertainty, a bright light has shown through our extended family and it comes full circle with my thoughts about the past and present. Our niece and nephew, both Florida Prepaid beneficiaries, are on the cusp of their own college graduations from Florida universities, with one finalizing plans to begin graduate school in the fall semester. In talking with my sister-in-law, an educator herself, I told her I was truly impressed and amazed at them both graduating at the same time and how they had successfully planned to make it happen. She credited it all back to Florida Prepaid. In those early years with their two kids less than two years apart, they started 4-year University Plans for them both, knowing they would need a solid plan for college saving. It made it less stressful with a busy life, and gave them a monthly plan for payments, which they completed by the end of both of their kids’ senior year of high school.
They were very grateful for Florida Prepaid, allowing their kids to focus more on education and freed them up not to need jobs during college to pay for education expenses themselves. Our niece also went into college with credits from high school, allowing her to complete her undergraduate degree early and utilize the remainder of 4-Year University Plan for a portion of graduate school. This will give her even more benefit as she completes her achieves dreams without any graduate school student loans.
During this phase of uncertainty, Florida Prepaid is here for you — to remind you it’s okay to continue planning for the future.
What you need to know
- Open Enrollment will be extended until May 31, 2020, as part of its continuing commitment to help families as they navigate the challenges related to COVID-19.
- New customers will not have to make their first payment until July 20, 2020.
- Current customers will have their next payment due date moved to July 20, 2020.
- Families can continue to make payments as previously scheduled if they choose.
- If families choose to defer payments until July, this will add three months to the tail end of their payment schedule.
- To further assist new customers during this time, Florida Prepaid is also waiving the application fee through the rest of Open Enrollment. Use promo code JAX1920 for the waived app fee.
The Future: As our own family looks to the future, we have been reminded of the values surrounding us of the importance of education on a day-to-day basis in many ways. Especially during these times, we are reminded that we might not be as focused on planning financially for the future as we thought and the certainty we need for peace of mind — and how fast time goes by. Our kids will be college-age in 10 and 13 years, that’s not too far away, especially when I remember first meeting my niece and nephew at the age my kids are now. We need to be committed to fulfilling our hopes and dreams for our own children’s college education — like their grandparents, aunts, and uncles have done.
And Florida Prepaid is here to help you make those commitments for your family — with a mission of making college savings attainable for Florida families while providing flexibility to families as we navigate new challenges related to COVID-19.