Published: Dec 14, 2010 8:19 PM EST
Updated: Dec 14, 2010 5:19 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla -  Florida's community colleges,now known as Florida Colleges, are evolving to meet the state's growing demand for workforce-related degrees. Approximately one out of every 20 Floridians is enrolled in the Florida College System, representing more than one million students, and estimates show in excess of 13 million jobs needed by 2014 will require a degree offered at a Florida College. In fact, enrollment in baccalaureate programs in the Florida College System has almost tripled in size since 2006, growing from 3,500 to 12,000. In response to this evolution, the Florida Prepaid College Board is expanding its consumer-friendly savings choices with the introduction of a new offering--the 4-Year Florida College Plan. This new plan allows a student to obtain a bachelor's degree at one of Florida's 19 Colleges now offering baccalaureate programs.

The 4-Year Florida College Plan was created as a way to allow families to prepay tuition and most required fees for 60 lower division as well as 60 upper division semester hours, all at a Florida College. Families can now prepay the higher education costs of earning a bachelor's degree for as little at $99 per month. With this accessible new plan, Florida Prepaid continues to help families save smartly for the future college expenses that best fit their needs, even as the higher education landscape evolves.

"The Florida College System continues to develop allowing more of Florida's future students to obtain their college education, including earning bachelor's degrees, at one of these institutions," said Chairman Duane Ottenstroer of the Florida Prepaid College Board. "With this plan addition, our goal is to make the program more comprehensive and to remain relevant for college savings today."

The Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program began in 1988 to provide Florida families with an affordable means to save for their children's future college education by providing cost effective, financially sound Prepaid College Plans and other college savings programs. As the state's 28 Colleges advance to reflect a broader community-focused mission, attending a college is increasingly a more affordable and more popular path to earn a bachelor's degree.

Over the last three years full time enrollment in the Florida College System has increased 25 percent. Florida Colleges now offer more than 120 four-year degrees, creating a very attainable way to earn bachelor's degrees in areas such as nursing, education, applied technology and more.

"As the demand for and importance of a bachelor's degree increases year after year, Florida's College System is taking steps to create a competitive workforce," said Dr. Willis Holcombe, Chancellor of the Florida College System. "Access to a college education is integral to solidifying a well prepared citizenship and successful future for the State of Florida."

For much more information on the new 4-Year Florida College Plan or to sign up online for any of the four Florida Prepaid College Plan options, families can visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com or call 1-800-552-GRAD (4723) to request an Enrollment Kit in English or Spanish and speak with a customer service representative. Florida Prepaid's 2010-2011 annual acquisition period, when families can purchase a Prepaid College Plan at this year's plan prices, continues until the January 31, 2011 enrollment deadline.