University offers alternative college affordability options for students

Written by Guethshina Altena/News Director

University announced ‘the Golden Promise’  a program that covers the remaining cost of tuition for incoming freshmen that are receiving the full support amount of pell grant starting in the Fall 2017.

At the Access and Affordability forum, Raquel Perez, a CARTA professor moderated the discussion between President Mark B. Rosenberg, Director of Office of Scholarships Laura Castillo, Director of Financial Aid Francisco Valines; SGC-MMC President Alian Collazo.

The panel streamed live on the Roar on Wednesday Feb. 8 between 1p.m. and 2:30p.m.

“We are a public University that believes that eligible students ought to have the opportunity to get a four year degree, that eligible students belong here and have the ability to succeed here,” Rosenberg said.

Students with an estimated family contribution of zero dollar, Golden promise students, will automatically receive the remaining balance for their tuition in form of FIU scholarships, grants or loans. The aid amount will be added to their financial award letter at the beginning of the year.

“There are a lot of resources here that should be able to get you to the finish line and beyond,” Rosenberg said.

Students voiced their concerns about the lack of classes availability at both campuses and the travel time to get from one campus to the other. They explained that it is quite inconvenient when it comes to getting from one class at the north campus to get to another class at the south campus within an hour.

Rosenberg said the University is aiming for a “24/7, 365 availability of courses” some classes may have to be online but they are working with students to provide the varying coursework needed at the different campuses.

“We are a public University whose faculty understands why they are here and have the purpose to ensure that our students get a ‘Worlds Ahead’ education” He said.

Rosenberg said that FIU is a public University relatively young by north american public university standards but he sees our youth is an advantage.

“We believe that our youth gives us the ability to be far more responsive to our students than the older, more established institutions of Higher Education” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said that a good lesson for him when he first arrived to the University in 1976 from the University Pittsburg was seeing the faculty work day and night with a very special, highly motivated, hardworking student body.

The University of Pittsburgh is about 230 years old and their system consisted of faculty teaching classes during the day and graduate students teaching the night classes for students.

Rosenberg said: “What do we do with every dollar that’s appropriated to us by the state of Florida? How do we spend those dollars and the ones we charge students for Tuition?”

Laura Castillo, the director of Office of Scholarships to talk about the many grant and scholarship opportunities that the University offers.  She said that FIU owns a website “fiu academic works” that compiles a list of all the scholarships available to students from all the departments and colleges throughout the University.

“In the good old days, the funding that we got from the state was based upon a student came through our doors and enrolled; Today, the funding that we get is based upon a student’s graduation”

If a student takes a long time to graduate, which can be appropriate in his or her particular circumstances, that works against the University funding according to Rosenberg.

The state is interested in efficiency, accountability and timely graduation. It is increasingly asking the University to graduate every student in 4 years.

Director of Financial Aid Francisco Valines said the Financial Aid office has a default Prevention team that can help students make informed decisions when it comes to borrowing money to pay for college.

The office also provides one-on-one student loan counseling to all FIU students. For more information contact the Financial Aid office at 305-348-7000

Photo by Martina Bretous/Panther NOW

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