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Florida College Students Leave 24 Million Untapped

January 29th, 2009 by flanews

Paperwork is the only thing standing between 22-thousand college students and 24 million federal dollars. The students qualify for Pell Grants to pay for college but arent claiming the money. As Whitney Ray tells us, the University Systems Board of Governors wants to raise awareness of the grant program to increase student enrollment.

Hear it Here: Florida College Students Leave 24 Million Untapped

FAMU Sophomore Dwayne Pearce depends on student loans and a federal Pell Grant to pay for school. The grant is worth 4,400 dollars a year.

It helps out a lot because if I didnt, Id have to take out another loan. So Id be in more debt, said Dwayne.

Out-of-state Freshman Lori Sanders would still be in Ohio if she never applied for a Pell Grant.

Without it I would probably still be in Cleveland, Ohio. Not here at school. I would definitely be in a state college in my state, said Sanders.

In Florida 22,000 college students are leaving Pell Grant money in Uncle Sams bank account. A study by the states university system found the qualified students never applied, leaving 24 million untapped.

One reason students could be missing out on the federal grant is this 11-page application full of household income and tax questions.

The study claims many students dont know how to answer the questions and some simply arent aware the grants exist.

There many students who just arent educated about the process, who come in late in the process and didnt, either take advantage of or get all the materials they needed. There are a lot of students who are reluctant to disclose income, said Board of Governors Assistant Vice Chancellor Dan Cohen-Vogel said.

For some, a Pell grant could make the difference between attending college or the school of hard knocks. The States University Systems Board of Governors will begin working with high schools and colleges to raise awareness about the grants. The money is awarded based on family incomes and students can qualify for a full or partial grants.

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