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FGCU Soars with Affordable Education

Jessica Piland

Florida Gulf Coast University takes pride in affordable education with tuition rates staying the same for the past nine years. 

Ensuring that a university degree is affordable and accessible is a crucial factor when students decide where to attend school. FGCU has kept tuition and fees the same for nine years. 

Associate Vice President, Jorge Lopez, is in charge of student financial enrollment and business services at FGCU. 

“We’re going into our ninth year of no tuition increase rates for our students. It’s a Florida statewide and local level, meaning FGCU keeps the tuition low and provides an affordable cost for students. It’s a combination that the state has also held a strong position that we do not increase tuition for our students, and our university upholding that initiative so we can maintain an affordable cost level for students,” Lopez says. 

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FGCU has kept tuition the same for the past nine years because of the help of generous donors and large sums from the financial aid and scholarship offices. These funds are meant to benefit students. These funds also allow FGCU to grow their foundational scholarships and the amounts they offer each year. 

According to the tuition and fees website, FGCU’s tuition for in-state students is $203.94 per credit hour, and $838.73 for out-of-state students. There are variable factors that go into creating the student expense budget including where the student lives, the student’s legal state of residency and the number of credits a student is enrolled in.

“Overall, when a student is starting, there’s a one-two punch of applications for students. One is the federal application for student aid, known as FAFSA. And we have the scholarship application, which is our foundation scholarship. In addition to that, for incoming freshmen, we have funding available for first-time college students who excelled in high school. We offer anywhere around $6 million in admission merit scholarships. That doesn’t include other funding sources like FAFSA. We look at all the funding we have available, which could be federal, state, institutional, or even outside funding sources through community organizations. The hope is that we can put together enough funded money from these funding sources, so nobody has to borrow money,” Lopez says.

FGCU offers different types of financial aid like grants, loans, work-study and scholarships to help make college education affordable for students. FGCU also encourages students to pursue grants, scholarships, and student employment options first before thinking about taking loans out. This is because taking a loan out can be a financial struggle. To receive financial aid, students must meet the requirements which include being a resident, maintaining a 2.0 GPA and being in good academic standing. 

A student’s financial need is an important factor that determines how much financial aid a student will receive and qualify for. According to financial aid, for federal aid, financial need equals your school’s cost of attendance minus your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from FAFSA. It is an official calculation that affects the size of student aid packages.  

FGCU has financial planning tips on the financial aid website. The site offers resources that help college students learn about funding, setting a budget, applying for aid and learning how to pay back loans. Learn more about them on the FGCU financial aid website. 

 FGCU aims to distribute roughly $30 million in scholarships every year. 

According to financial aid, scholarships are awarded based on multiple factors including leadership, merit, academic achievement and financial need. FGCU offers Military and Veteran scholarships, study abroad scholarships, Florida scholarship programs and external scholarships. 

FGCU student, Parrish, who wants to be identified only by last name, received a scholarship and couldn’t be more thankful for it. She’s a new student and has to provide for education fees on her own. 

“This is my first semester at FGCU, and I received a foundation scholarship for four years. I’m so thankful for it because it’s a lot to pay for rent, food, utilities, car payments, and then classes and books. It helps take the weight off my shoulders, so I can focus on education without worrying about bills. It’s helping me stay afloat and I appreciate FGCU for helping me,” Parrish says.

Although scholarship opportunities are available for students, students need to make sure they are in academic standing and meet the requirements.  

According to financial aid, “Scholarships are awarded for everything under the sun, from good grades to community service, artistic endeavors, special interests and hobbies, you name it! When searching, consider what sets you apart from the crowd. Focus your effort on scholarships that are the best match for your interest, background, and plans.” 

The goal is to make sure opportunities are available to students to help them graduate with zero debt. Ensuring that students can learn efficiently and excel in their academics is important. To do that, FGCU understands that being able to afford classes is crucial to effective learning. FGCU wants to send educated students into the world and to make that happen, education needs to be affordable to students. 

“On average, 59% of students graduated with zero debt in 2021-2022,” Lopez says.

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About the Contributor
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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