Executive Director of Communications
"Quick Facts" on Federal Student Financial Aid Issues and Florida Tuition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Feb. 6, 2012
Media contact: Kelly Layman, Florida Board of Governors, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Quick Facts” on Federal Student Financial Aid Issues and Florida Tuition
• Florida tuition and fees – Reference sheet with historical trends and current info for the State University System of Florida: www.flbog.edu/pressroom, click on Current Info Briefs.
• Current national ranking of State University System of Florida tuition and fees, see: http://www.flbog.edu/pressroom/news.php?id=418. As you know, the Florida public university system has 11 institutions with more than 325,000 students enrolled currently. A graphic of each state’s standing and the full national ranking is embedded in the press release.
• Federal student aid process – The federal student financial aid framework is governed and organized by a form called the “FAFSA” that applicants send to the federal government, U.S. Dept. of Education. This “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA) dictates any grants or loans a student is eligible for, and for universities, it is very important as well because it gives universities determination codes for need-based aid provided at the university level. It is up to the student to determine usage of financial aid, whether it is tuition, room and board, books, and related costs, so any changes in aid affects a student’s overall situation. (The Florida Legislature in its 2011 Session also mandated that Bright Futures recipients fill out a FAFSA for general tracking purposes by the State.) For more about the importance of FAFSA and how it works, see the Board of Governors’ special summer 2011 public awareness push, to complement the universities’ year-round work: http://www.flbog.edu/pressroom/news.php?id=400. We know that not all eligible students send in a FAFSA, and the Board of Governors supports the universities’ stance that students/families should complete a FAFSA to see what if any aid they may be eligible for.
• For Board Chair Dean Colson’s “State of the System” brief remarks, including financial aid issues, given during his first meeting as Board Chair on Jan. 19, see the press release at www.flbog.edu/pressroom.
• Pell Grant eligibility changes: On Dec. 23 (2011), President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 112-74). This law outlines significant changes to the Federal Pell Grant Program. These changes will be in effect for the 2012-2013 academic year, for which students are currently submitting their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The new law establishes the following changes and greater restrictions on awards:
1. Auto-Zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Income Threshold: The threshold EFC, which automatically qualifies students for the maximum Pell Grant amount, is being reduced from $30,000 to $23,000. The FAFSA web system started using $23,000 as the new EFC income threshold as of January 1, 2012.
2. “Ability-to-Benefit”: Students without a high school diploma or an equivalent (GED, for instance), or do not meet home school requirements, will be ineligible for Pell Grants. This applies to students who enroll in a program of study for the first time on or after July 1, 2012.
3. Minimum Federal Pell Grant Award and Maximum EFC: The new minimum Pell Grant award for a student is 10 percent of the award’s year maximum amount. In addition, students will not be eligible for Pell Grants if they don’t qualify for at least 10 percent of the maximum award for the academic year.
4. Federal Pell Grant Duration of Eligibility: Students’ eligibility to receive Pell Grants for a maximum of 18 semesters is now reduced to 12 semesters. This applies to all students, regardless of when they received their first Pell Grant award.
For more detailed information, please click here to see specifics on the new law. You can also access, through this link, a side-by-side chart comparing the previous law to the new bill and the resulting changes.