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FAQ: Higher Education Opportunity

What is covered by the Higher Education Opportunity?
For each child who receives the HEO benefit, the university will pay the in-state matriculation fees, less any Bright Futures scholarship award, for a maximum of 132 credit hours toward an undergraduate degree at the University of Florida or a state public community/state college in the event the child is not admitted to the University of Florida. The program is limited to covering 12 credit hours per spring and fall semesters and 6 credit hours for the summer semester. For students participating in the UF Innovation Academy (IA) undergraduate program, the HEO will cover the in-state matriculation fees, less any Bright Futures scholarship award, for up to 12 credits per spring and summer semester and to up to 6 credit hours per fall semester.

What is not covered by the Higher Education Opportunity?
The HEO does not cover any costs outside of the in-state matriculation fees, including costs associated with housing, books, late registration, late payment, materials, lab fees, or supplies. Additionally, the HEO does not cover state required or local fees associated with tuition. These can include capital improvement, building, activity and service, athletic, health, and transportation access fees (although this list may not be exhaustive). For a breakdown of current tuition fees at the University of Florida, please visit the University Bursar website.

What is meant by “matriculation?”
Matriculation fees are the actual instructional fees charged by an academic institution to take college courses. This includes tuition and tuition differential costs.

How can I figure out exactly how much the HEO is going to cover?
You can find out how much of the tuition the HEO will cover by subtracting the in-state matriculation fees from the total fees per credit hour and then multiplying that number by the amount of credits the student is taking. Any money from Bright Futures should be subtracted from that amount.

  • For example, as of fall 2019 the in-state matriculation fee, including the tuition differential for UF, was $149.24 per credit hour, while the total rate per credit hour was $212.71. If an eligible HEO student who was not awarded a Bright Futures scholarship was taking 12 credits in fall of 2019 at the UF, the HEO would cover $1,790.88 ($149.24 multiplied by 12 credits). The student would be responsible for $761.64 ($212.71 – $149.24 multiplied by 12 credits) plus any other applicable costs (labs, supplies, books, housing, etc.) to attend UF.
  • It would be best to speak with a member of Student Financial Services at your institution to find out what you owe for a particular semester. Remember that your portion of the fees is due by the deadline specified by your institution and that it is your responsibility to find out what you owe and to pay it on-time—the HEO will not cover late fees.

How does Bright Futures impact the HEO Scholarship?
It is important to note, Florida legislative changes affect the HEO award amount for Florida Academic and Florida Medallion Bright Futures Scholarship students. Bright Futures funding is reviewed each academic year, so the examples below are based the UF 2019-20 academic year. Funding amounts are subject to change. For other colleges and community colleges, students should contact the financial departments directly.

  • Florida Academic Bright Futures recipients will receive an award amount equal to 100% of tuition and applicable fees; which currently includes the summer semester. Applicable fees include activity and service fee, health fee, athletic fee, financial aid fee, capital improvement fee, campus access/transportation fee, technology fee and tuition differential fee. See chart below.
Fees Amount Covered by Florida Academic BF Scholarship?
Tuition 105.07 Yes
Tuition Differential 44.17 Yes
Capital Improvement Trust Fund 6.76 Yes
Student Financial Aid 5.25 Yes
Technology 5.25 Yes
Activity & Service 19.06 Yes
Athletic 1.90 Yes
Health 15.81 Yes
Transportation Access 9.44 Yes
Total $212.71 $212.71

In academic year 2019-20, the HEO pays $149.24, per credit hour. This amount includes the instructional tuition and tuition differential.

In this example above, the total amount covered by the Florida Academic Bright Futures scholarship ($212.71) is greater than the amount the HEO pays for tuition and tuition differential ($149.24). Therefore no HEO funding will be applied in semesters the Bright Futures student receives Bright Futures funding.

  • Florida Medallion Bright Futures recipients will receive an award amount equal to 75% of tuition and applicable fees; which currently includes the summer semester. Applicable fees include activity and service fee, health fee, athletic fee, financial aid fee, capital improvement fee, campus access/transportation fee, technology fee and tuition differential fee. See chart below.
Fees Amount Covered by Florida Medallion BF Scholarship?
Tuition 105.07 75%
Tuition Differential 44.17 75%
Capital Improvement Trust Fund 6.76 75%
Student Financial Aid 5.25 75%
Technology 5.25 75%
Activity & Service 19.06 75%
Athletic 1.90 75%
Health 15.81 75%
Transportation Access 9.44 75%
Total $212.71 $159.53

In academic year 2019-20, the HEO pays $149.24, per credit hour. This amount includes tuition and tuition differential.

In the Medallion example above, the total amount covered by the Medallion Bright Futures scholarship ($159.53) is greater than the amount the HEO pays for tuition and tuition differential ($149.24). Therefore no HEO funding will be applied in semesters the Bright Futures student receives Bright Futures funding.

  • For other colleges and community colleges, students should contact the financial departments directly for a complete tuition breakdown.

What if the HEO pays more than Bright Futures, per credit hour?
In cases where Bright Futures pays less than the HEO pays, the HEO will pay the difference between the total Bright Futures per credit hour amount and the HEO covered (instructional portion) amount. See example below.

State College X, tuition (instructional portion) = HEO pays $78.94, per credit hour

State College X, tuition, and fees = $103.32, per credit hour

At the Medallion level, Bright Futures would pay (approximately 75%), or $77.49,

HEO $78.94 – Bright Futures Medallion $77.49 = $1.45 per credit hour, the difference is the amount that would be applied by the HEO scholarship, up to 12 credit hours. $1.45 x 12 = $17.40.

My child just transferred from Santa Fe College to the University of Florida and it seems like we owe much more for tuition. Has there been some kind of mistake?
Each institution implements additional student fees above and beyond the in-state matriculation (instructional) fees assessed for taking the course, including fees for transportation, buildings, capital improvement, health, and so forth. UF, as a growing institution that offers its students many amenities, has additional fees per credit hour. You can see the breakdown of fees on the University Bursar website.

When is the deadline to pay the student’s portion of the financial fees?
Each educational institution has its own fee payment deadline for each semester. You can look at the calendar of critical dates maintained on most academic institutions’ websites to determine when your fees are due.

Does the HEO “freeze” the cost of tuition?
Future changes to in-state matriculation fees will continue to be covered by the HEO as described above. Any adjustments to fees outside the in-state matriculation will be the responsibility of the student.

How long does my child have to complete his or her 132 hours?
HEO participants may attend school part-time in this program; however, the total obligation of the University for each HEO participant will not exceed 132 credit hours.

Can my child elect to put off college for a year (or more)?
To remain eligible for the HEO the student must enroll in his or her respective HEO-approved institution, as indicated on the HEO Acceptance Form, for the fall semester following acceptance into the program. In future semesters, the child may elect not to enroll; however, the student must meet eligibility requirements to continue to participate.

Will the HEO cover the summer semesters?
The HEO covers up to 6 total credit hours during the summer. Note, however, that new HEO participants who have applied and been awarded the HEO for the coming year will not start receiving tuition assistance through the HEO program until the fall.

What happens if my child’s cumulative GPA drops below a 2.75?
Should an HEO participant’s cumulative GPA drop below a 2.75, the student will be classified as “GPA ineligible” and will remain ineligible for continued participation in the HEO until his or her cumulative GPA is 2.75 or higher. The student may still take classes while in a “GPA-ineligible” status. Any hours attempted while GPA ineligible will count toward the max of 132 credit hours.

What if I leave TEAMS employment at UF?
Each semester, the Office of Human Resource Services will verify the full-time TEAMS employment of the qualifying parent. If a parent is not a full-time TEAMS employee on the first day of classes each new semester, the HEO student will no longer be eligible for the HEO. If the parent later returns to UF as a full-time TEAMS employee, he or she may reapply to participate in the HEO drawing for the child. Admission status at UF or the community college will not be affected if the parent is no longer employed by UF; however, the student will be responsible for any future costs formerly covered by the HEO.

Is the HEO Scholarship considered financial aid?
Yes. When filling out a financial aid document, you should note the funds that you receive from the Higher Education Opportunity program.