It is not a 529 plan. Yes, people agree to it because it is a perfectly safe investment that grows at the rate of the in-state Florida tuition, as long as you use it for college tuition somewhere, anywhere, as long as it is an accredited institution. The value of the investment is whatever Florida state tuition is in the year that you use it. In 15 years, the educational value of our investment has nearly tripled. By the time DS is a senior, it will be even higher. I'd call that a fantastic investment. Couldn't get that kind of return in a totally safe account anywhere else the past 15 years. The only catch is that it has to be used up by the time DS is 28 years old (or we lose it), and it can only be used for educational "expenses". If you get a full scholarship at any other college, you get back the full value (the tripled amount). That's a great deal. However, the Academies are the only places in the country that I know of where there is no tuition, no room and board, and technically no scholarships. So I just want to hear how others from my state have been able to use their accounts, if at all (including what Velveteen suggested about the Academy writing a memo that his education amounts to a scholarship)
. And yes, the government "supplies" our cadets with books, uniforms, computers, but it is actually in the form of a loan that the cadet has to repay out of his/her stipend. The Florida prepaid money would be great to use to replace the money that the cadet uses to repay this loan.
To make it clearer, back in 2002 we purchased this plan at a cost of $9,500. Today this plan is worth $27,000 towards tuition and every year its value is rising. If my DS doesn't go to college, we can only reclaim the $9,500 less a small penalty fee. If he goes to a college with tuition, he can be reimbursed at the rate of about $3,400 per semester - and rising. I have already been in contact with Florida Prepaid and not been able to learn much, except that whatever school my DS attends needs to bill Florida Prepaid. I just want to know who else on this list has been able to use this account for an academy and what they can tell me about their experience. The academy situation is unique and not addressed in the FL Prepaid covenant.