It’s that time of year again. The time that every Rattler knows well: net check return season. Whether the amount is $500, $1,000 or even $2,000, students often anticipate receiving these refund checks of leftover funds to make car payments, buy groceries, buy books and cover all other excess and unexpected expenses that often accompany a college student.
Nothing fuels that anticipation more than seeing friends receiving those long-anticipated envelopes in the mail with Florida A&M’s official letterhead, holding the aforementioned net checks inside. Fantasies about what you could do with the money become tantalizingly real, as students imagine visions of a fridge stocked with actual food and not leftover pizza or chicken.
Maybe even a new umbrella to replace that decrepit article that barely covers the top of your head, or money to put toward studying abroad over the summer.
However, if you’re a student with the Florida Academic Scholars’ Award, also known as 100 percent Bright Futures, in addition to a school awarded scholarship like the Distinguished Scholar’s Award, put a hold on those fantasies. Or, better yet, terminate them.
FAMU has a policy in place for these scholarship recipients that allows Bright Futures to cover tuition, after which FAMU will step in and cover the difference, mainly meal plans, room and board and a $300 book stipend. This amount, however, only adds up to approximately $3,000, while the full scholarship amount is supposed to be $5,000 a semester.
The remaining $2,000 will not be returned to the student in a refund check. Instead, FAMU takes back the difference, and students with these scholarships are left to fend for themselves in terms of living expenses, groceries and other fees. If FAMU were any other state-funded university in Florida, like Florida State or the University of Central Florida, students would be rewarded their hard-earned scholarship money rather than duped, based on hidden technicalities.
Whether intentionally or otherwise, the withdrawal of scholarship funds for students gives off the impression that despite their claim to want to attract intelligent, hard-working students, FAMU is punishing these very same students for succeeding.
Clarece Polk for the Editorial Board.