30K families have unclaimed Florida Prepaid refunds waiting for them

Posted at 7:37 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 11:33:44-04

The Florida Prepaid College Board says about 30,000 families have unclaimed refunds waiting for them.

Back in January, Florida Prepaid announced families of 224,000 students had plan prices lowered, which resulted in more than $500 million in refunds for about 100,000 of those accounts. Families have been able to access their refunds since that announcement, but about 30,000 of them remain unclaimed, totaling about $225 million, according to the Prepaid College Board. The average refund is $4,700.

Prepaid Plan prices were reduced for most tuition, local fee and tuition differential fee plans purchased in contract years 2008-2019 with a projected college enrollment year of 2020 or later.

Shannon Colavecchio, a spokeswoman for Florida Prepaid, said all you have to do to see if you have a refund waiting for you is visit their website and log into your account. She said during this time of uncertainty with COVID-19, they want to remind families that this money is out there.

"We recognize that families, there are a lot of families that the money could be a welcomed surprise right now," Colavecchio said. "And so were encouraging you, if you even remotely think this might apply to you, to just log into your account."

As far as what to do with the money, Colavecchio said there are a couple of choices

"You can ask to get a refund check sent to you. We can do that," she said. "Also, if you maybe have another beneficiary, you can apply it toward their plan, if you wanted to roll that money into our Florida 529 savings plan to cover housing and books and the other cost of college other than tuition, you can also do that. In the case of these price reductions, we said, 'OK, you might have overpaid based on what we thought tuition was going to go. Now that we know it's not going to go up that high, this money belongs to you, so you decide what to do with it.'"

"Obviously, this has been a season unlike any other that any of us have experienced in our lifetime, and when we announced those reductions in January, COVID and quarantine life and all of these things really were not on the radar," Colavecchio said. "Now that they are, we recognize a lot might have changed for families between January and now, and maybe it's changed for the worse financially, so maybe if this can be something that helps families, we would love that."