Federal aid for Florida college students on the way


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – The proverbial check is in the mail for thousands of students and could arrive as early as Wednesday.

The money comes from Florida State University’s nearly $30 million share of the Federal Cares Act, but it is only for students who have already demonstrated a financial need.

FSU’s first wave of funding totals $6.2 million.

It will send checks ranging from $400 to $600 to more than 12,500 students who have already demonstrated a financial need with graduate students seeing $1,000 checks.

“The Department of Education gave us the criteria, kind of to base it on. Pell Grant money, people who desperately need financial aid. People who had already filed an application with the Federal government for some type of grant in aid,” said FSU President, John Thrasher.

Statewide, more than $125 million will go directly to students, but each university has latitude on how to distribute the money.

Across town from FSU, Florida A&M is sending the bulk of its $6.5 million out now.

“We have over 65 percent of our students who are Pell-eligible and so we know they need those funds now,” said FAMU Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Hudson.

Under FAMU’s plan, every student can apply for a share of the remaining funds.

“Everyone’s eligible because they can fill out the application and be eligible as well to provide documentation of the hardship they experienced,” said Hudson.

A total of $14.6 million will go to Florida State’s needy students with the university trying to decide if some will go to those who enroll in the summer or just those in the fall.

Under the Cares Act, universities must send half of their funds directly to students, the other half can cover university expenses and students can use the money for unexpected expenses such as travel or child care caused by the pandemic.

Florida State students who want to learn more about future funding should visit the University’s financial aid site.

Florida State says losses from the pandemic could total $75 million to date.

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