Students at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla. may be forced to repay Pell Grants after the institution erroneously doled out at $2.8 million in financial aid, college administrators announced Tuesday during a news conference.
The reports came after a federal review last week that found the school gave at least 700 Pell Grants they shouldn’t have in 2010-11. The U.S. Department of Education has called upon the college to identify even more students who were ineligible for Pell Grants in 2011-12.
"The United States Department of Education does have in their regulations a requirement that we pursue repayment from students," said Steve Bowers, FSCJ Associate Vice President of Administrative Services.
Students who do not qualify to receive Pell Grants because they do not meet academic standards may submit an appeal to determine whether their drop in academic achievement was the result of a more serious event, such as an illness or death in the family. If the student cannot provide a reason, he or she must repay the debt.
Those students may owe anywhere from $219 to $8,325, reported the Florida Times-Union.
FSCJ has stated they plan to hire real-estate attorney Bill Scheu, who gained fame after he helped Planned Parenthood and the Christian Coalition reach an agreement on sex education in public schools in the 1990s. Scheu’s report on college's financial errors will be not released until August.
"They may not like what I say, they may like what I say," Scheu told the Times-Union. "But I don't see this as an auditing of each of these files. It's going to be more of an institutional look at it so that the public can be assured that the college is back on the right track."