Are you attending the University of Florida, or thinking about doing so? If so, you should know that the estimated cost to attend, including tuition, fees, and room and board, for undergrads in the 2018-19 academic year is $21,210.
Coming up with that amount of money can be challenging. Fortunately, students have options for University of Florida financial aid. Some of those options, such as federal and private student loans, will put you in debt. Others, such as grants and scholarships, won’t need to be repaid.
Let’s look at the different sources of aid you may receive so that you can make informed choices about how to pay for your education.
Grants for University of Florida students
Grants don’t need to be repaid, so it’s best to max out on this source of free money before borrowing. The UF Office for Student Financial Affairs (SFA) provides information on grants, including:
- Federal Pell Grants: Undergrads with demonstrated financial need may be eligible for Pell Grants. For the 2018-19 academic year, students can receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award of $6,095.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: While students can earn up to $4,000 a year based on financial need, the university indicates that students generally receive between $100 and $2,000 annually.
- Florida Student Assistance Grants: This state-funded program awards between $200 and $2,610 to undergrads each academic year. You must be considered a Florida resident for the 12 months before the start of the academic year to qualify.
- I. Douglas Turner Grants: Undergrads with demonstrated financial need can receive between $200 and $5,000 a year.
- UF Micro Grants: This grant awards between $200 and $2,500 to undergrads experiencing difficulty funding educational costs. The grant intends to prevent at-risk students from dropping out.
- UF Graduate Grants: This program is funded by the school for grad students with exceptional financial need. Students can receive between $100 and $3,000 per academic year.
For each of these grants, there are specific requirements, including enrolling for a minimum number of credit hours and meeting academic progress standards. Students generally become eligible by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The university offers information on other grants, such as one offered to students who were younger than 24 or attending college when a parent or guardian was killed while serving in the U.S. military in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Students studying to be teachers will also find information on the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant.
Scholarships for University of Florida students
Like grants, scholarships don’t need to be paid back. Scholarship opportunities at the University of Florida include:
- SFA-awarded scholarships: Students who demonstrate financial need, are enrolled full time, and meet donor-specific criteria can become eligible by submitting the FAFSA.
- Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarships: First-time college freshmen attending an undergrad program are eligible if they are Florida residents with demonstrated financial need. They must have a total family income of less than $40,000 and countable family assets of less than $25,000, not including the family’s home.
- Benacquisto Scholarships: Florida residents are eligible for these state-sponsored awards if they’ve won certain other scholarships, such as the National Merit Scholarship or a corporate-sponsored merit or achievement scholarship.
Many individuals and institutions have also established scholarships for University of Florida students, often in memory of loved ones or intended to help needy students. The school has a scholarship search engine to help students learn about opportunities.
University of Florida students can work part time to offset education costs. The university permits students to work up to 20 hours a week on campus. With permission from an academic adviser, you can take on up to 31 hours of on-campus work.
Some on-campus jobs are open only to students who qualify for federal work-study. You can find on-campus jobs through a university portal. If you have questions, contact the SFA Student Employment Office at 352-392-0296.
Federal student loans
Many students need to borrow money to fill a funding gap. Federal student loans provide important borrower protections and flexible repayment options. In most cases, you should exhaust federal funding before looking for other loans. Options include:
- Direct Subsidized Loans: Undergrads with demonstrated financial need are eligible for subsidized loans. The government covers your interest charges while you’re in school, during your grace period, and during periods of deferment.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are open to both undergrads and graduate students. You don’t need to demonstrate financial need to qualify.
- Direct PLUS Loans: These are open to both graduate students and parents of undergrads. You must not have an adverse credit history to qualify.
Although federal loans are a great option for covering education expenses, be prepared to pay an origination fee on your loan. PLUS Loans also have a higher interest rate, so you may want to compare costs and benefits with other loan options.
University of Florida student loans
The University of Florida offers short- and long-term loans to eligible students.
Long-term loans are available to those who completed the FAFSA but are either ineligible for financial aid or can’t qualify for enough aid. Students may borrow between $500 and $3,500 annually. Interest rates range from 4.00% to 9.00%.
Short-term loans for up to $1,000 can also be provided to cover emergency expenses.
Private student loans
Students can obtain private student loans from banks, credit unions, and online lenders.
While there aren’t as many borrower protections or repayment options with private loans as with federal loans, private lenders may offer some perks. For example, you may be able to defer payments until after you leave school or put your loans into forbearance during financial hardship.
Students should comparison shop the top private student loan lenders. There may be no standard interest rates or origination fees with private loans.
How to approach your University of Florida financial aid options
While paying for a higher education may be challenging, careful research can help you find the best University of Florida financial aid.
Max out sources of free funding, then shop carefully to find the most affordable loans. Borrowing the minimum amount with the right lenders can help you avoid graduating with a ton of debt that’s hard to repay.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
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