Florida Board of Governors discusses $24 million opportunity for students
Members of the strategic planning and academic and system oversight committee just completed a short discussion on a new state report indicating that as many as 22,000 Florida students who attended public universities in 2005 may have missed out on federal financial aid for which they were eligible.
Why did $24 million in free money go unused? Because not everyone is getting the message that the aid, in the form of federal Pell Grants, is available.
“I think this is great news for our state that we possibly have these available dollars,” said Board of Governors member Ann W. Duncan, the only one to comment on the subject.
The report, released this week, looked at students whose families reported $40,000 or less of adjusted gross income and would probably have qualified for the grants. Those students also may have missed out on millions of dollars in other federal and state need-based programs, the report states.
Board of Governors spokesman Bill Edmonds said the group would pursue ways of working with K-12 school counselors to spread the word that untapped help in the form of federal Pell Grants is available to students who want to attend college in Florida.
One group already is working on that goal. Enlace Florida has created College Goal Sunday to help students figure out how to maximize their financial aid packages. The event will take place in nine sites the weekend of Feb. 21-22. Check the web site for more details.
Later today in Tallahassee, the Florida Board of Governors will discuss the University of South Florida's proposal to establish a doctor of pharmacy program on its Tampa campus.
Donna Winchester, higher education reporter