How to Pay for Florida International University: Financial Aid and Student Loans

 June 30, 2020
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Before starting your studies at Miami’s Florida International University (FIU), you’ll need a plan to pay for tuition. According to FIU’s financial aid office, the average annual FIU cost is $23,866 for in-state residents and $36,264 for out-of-state students.

Of course, this cost will vary depending on whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student, live at home or in a dorm, or other factors. That’s why it’s important to figure out your individual FIU cost of attendance and plan accordingly.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand the costs of FIU, as well as your options for paying for your education. Specifically, let’s look at getting financial aid from the following sources:

Here are the annual costs for going to Florida International University, depending on whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student:

Undergraduate cost of attending FUI per year
For Florida residents For out-of-state students
Annual cost $23,866 $36,264

Here’s how the FIU costs break down per semester:

Undergraduate cost of attending FUI per semester
Expenses Cost per semester for Florida residents Cost per semester for out-of-state students
Tuition $3,084 $9,283
Fees $199 $199
Books and supplies $675 $675
Transportation $1,101 $1,101
Room $3,768 $3,768
Board $1,800 $1,800
Personal $1,306 $1,306
Total for the semester $11,933 $18,132
All info current as of June 15, 2020
Source: Florida International University

How to plan for FIU costs: Start by submitting the FAFSA

Many students may rely on outside financial help to pay for Florida International University.

Whether this comes from the federal government or state programs, there are many sources of aid available only to students who provide information about their personal and family finances. This information is collected when students complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA unlocks many common types of financial assistance. For example, you won’t be eligible for federal student loans or work-study programs unless you submit the application. Some state funding programs also require FAFSA completion to be eligible.

You’ll need to complete the FAFSA every year that you want aid. You can submit the application online, but you’ll need personal financial information from your family if you’re a dependent undergraduate student.

After submitting the FAFSA, you could become eligible for grants, scholarships, work-study funding and state and federal loans. Your financial aid award letter from Florida International University will detail the aid available to you.

Grants for Florida International University students

For many students, grants are a great way to pay for Florida International University. Grants could be given by the government, your school or other organizations. The money doesn’t have to be paid back.

Florida International University provides details on grants for which FIU students may be eligible. Students from across the country could potentially qualify for Pell Grants or Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants provided by the federal government.

These types of grants can be used to attend any qualifying educational institution, and you don’t have to be a Florida resident to get them. But eligibility for Pell Grants is based on financial need, while TEACH Grants are available only to students who are completing the necessary coursework to become teachers, meet some academic achievement requirements, and who will teach in a high-need field for at least four years in areas serving low-income students.

FIU students should also look into grants that are offered by the school or state of Florida. These include:

  • Florida Student Assistance Grants, which are need-based grants in the amount of $1,100 to $2,200
  • FIU grants, which are provided by FIU to students with financial need. These include:
    • Leverage Grant
    • FIU Opportunity Grant
    • University Grant
    • Differential Grant
    • Upper Division Grant
    • Graduate Need Grant (for graduate students)

Students can find more sources of funding using our guide to state grants.

Scholarships for Florida International University students

FIU students can also find funding through scholarships offered by the federal or state government, FIU, private donors or other organizations. Scholarships don’t have to be repaid and can be either merit-based or need-based, or both.

Need-based scholarships are typically available to students with demonstrated financial need. Merit-based scholarships may be open to everyone. Eligibility is based on having certain academic credentials, having a particular talent or meeting other specific requirements.

Some scholarships FIU students may be eligible for include:

  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program
  • First Generation Scholarships
  • FIU Merit Scholarships
  • Benacquisto Scholarship Program

Students can learn more about different scholarships available to FIU students by visiting the school’s scholarship information page.

To find other scholarship opportunities, you can use various scholarship search tools. Sites such as Fastweb and the College Board make it easy to get your hands on as much money as possible.

Federal work-study program

Scholarships and grants are rarely enough to cover the full cost of attending Florida International University, but students can also get funds to pay for their education through participating in the federal work-study program.

Under this work-study program, the federal government subsidizes wages of qualifying students, paying a portion of what the student earns.

Students must complete the FAFSA to become eligible. Their financial aid award letter will detail how much work-study funding they’re allowed to receive. Work-study positions end when funding is depleted.

Florida International University students are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week in a work-study job while classes are in session. Jobs may be on or off campus, but off-campus work is eligible only if the job is in the public interest and if the employer is an approved community work-study site.

Students can find out about work-study jobs through FIU’s careers page or by visiting the college’s Handshake portal to search for opportunities and apply for jobs.

Federal student loans

Ideally, students would be able to put together enough money from savings, grants, scholarships and work-study opportunities to avoid borrowing money for school. But for most students, this isn’t possible.

If you’ll be borrowing money to fund your education at FIU, it usually makes sense to exhaust your federal loans first. Federal student loans are often preferable to alternative sources of funding, such as private loans, because federal loans come with important borrower protections.

For example, federal loans allow income-based repayment plans, in which payments are capped based on your earnings. Also, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program makes qualifying students eligible for loan forgiveness if they work in a public service job and make 120 on-time payments.

Federal loans also have fixed interest rates and fees set by the federal government. Except for PLUS loans, most of these loans don’t need you to have good credit to qualify. The federal government even subsidizes interest for direct subsidized loans while you’re in school, as well as when loans are deferred after graduation.

Not all federal loans are the same, although all offer important borrower protections. The table below shows the different types of federal education financing that students may be eligible to receive.

Loan type Eligible borrowers Interest rates for loans disbursed July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021 Fees for loans disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020 Is the interest subsidized?
Direct subsidized loans Undergrads with demonstrated financial need, regardless of credit history 2.75% 1.062% Yes
Direct unsubsidized loans Undergrads and grad students regardless of need or credit history 2.75% for undergrads; 4.3% for grad students 1.062% No
PLUS loans Graduate students and parents of undergrad students who don’t have adverse credit 5.3% 4.236% No

Florida International University student loans

Florida International University’s website provides details on different loans that students could be eligible for to help fund their education. The list of loans includes federal direct loans, PLUS loans and private loans.

FIU doesn’t provide any long-term loans of its own, but the school does provide short-term tuition loans that must be repaid within 45 days. These loans are intended to help students meet deadlines for paying tuition.

Emergency loans of up to $500 a semester are also available to enrolled students with unforeseen financial emergencies if you can provide documented proof of expenses. There is a $10 service fee and the loan must be repaid within 30 days.

Private student loans

After exhausting sources of funds and federal loans, you may need more money to pay for Florida International University. If that’s the case, private student loans may be the answer.

Private loans don’t have all the borrower protections of federal loans. You’ll have to repay these loans regardless of whether you work in public service since there’s no loan forgiveness. Options for pausing payment through forbearance are likely to be more limited, and there’s no income-based repayment option.

But if you have good credit, private student loans may provide educational funding at a reasonable interest rate. Because there are no standardized rates or repayment terms (as there are with federal loans), it’s wise to shop around among different lenders and compare offers.

Our list of private student loan lenders can help you get started in your search for the best private loan. You should compare loan options carefully to determine if the interest rate is fixed or variable, review the repayment timeline and calculate the total interest cost of the loan.

You’ll also need good credit and proof of income to qualify with reputable lenders. If you can’t qualify on your own, you may be eligible if you have a cosigner who is willing to sign for the loans and promise to repay them if you don’t.

Bottom line: Covering your FIU cost of attendance

Attending Florida International University can be costly, but there are ways to cover your FIU cost of attendance using both sources of money and loans you have to pay back.

Always try to pay for as much of your school costs as possible by using grants, scholarships, savings and money from a work-study job so that you can graduate with a smaller debt. That way, you can cover your education without borrowing too much in student loans.

Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.

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