Some Florida A&M students are calling the recent news that $41.5 million in tuition and fee assistance is being provided during the 2021-2022 school year, “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Announced by President Larry Robinson at the President’s Convocation earlier this month, the additional assistance will be used to clear student balances in regard to debt relief and tuition fees. As stated in a news release, thanks to the federal Cares Act, the assistance will bring the amount of relief the university will provide to its students to $57 million.
Several students took to social media, specifically Twitter, to share the news with their peers after seeing some, if not all, of their financial obligations cleared from their iRattler accounts.
“Some call it Twitter fingers but I was just too happy to not tweet about it after seeing my debt was cleared and I would not have to sit out a semester,” said Ryanne Cary, a fourth-year computer science major. “I’m an out-of-state student so you know it gets pretty expensive to attend [FAMU]. Knowing I had outstanding charges was a burden but now that the school cleared it I feel so relieved.”
This summer, FAMU used more than $16 million in Cares Act funds to clear outstanding charges in student accounts. This came as a blessing to the masses of students and their families and it enabled many students to enroll in the following semester hassle-free. Currently for the 2021-2022 academic year, full-time students will receive a total of $5,000, $2,500 each semester. FAMU officials said that about $15.3 million has already been disbursed this fall semester.
“Students and their parents should already have seen the impact on their financial accounts,” William Hudson Jr., vice president for Student Affairs said in a release. “This is a very big deal for our students and their families. It decreases the potential debt of our students.”
Approximately 60 percent of the students attending FAMU are Pell-grant eligible, meaning that most students at FAMU display exceptional financial need. This average is the highest in the Florida State University System. Hudson mentioned during the convocation that a third of FAMU students are first-generation college students. And the typical student attending the university comes from a household income of less than $50,000 a year.
“I’ve struggled paying for classes and even my textbooks sometimes,” said Adrienne Lane, a fourth-year general science student. “More so after COVID it became a little harder making ends meet, but that’s why I am so grateful because I had a huge fee on my account. Then I checked back recently and it was gone.”
Robinson said he wants it known that FAMU cares for its students and their needs, and he said he’s looking for other ways the school can help students overcome financial hardships. Robinson told a body of cheering students that the school is willing to do whatever it takes to make things happen for their betterment.
“You need our help, and we are going to do everything we can to make that happen,” Robinson said during the convocation. “Some of you and your parents when those bills started going away you started calling my office. ‘FAMU, that $3,000 bill disappeared, did you make a mistake?’ It was not a mistake. It was by design.”