Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla. mistakenly gave $2.8 million in financial aid to students, and the institution may now be forcing students to repay Pell Grants, college administrators announced Tuesday during a news conference.
The reports came after a federal review last week that found the school gave at least 700 Pell Grants they shouldn't have in 2010-11. The U.S. Department of Education has called upon the college to identify even more students who were ineligible for Pell Grants in 2011-12.
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"The United States Department of Education does have in their regulations a requirement that we pursue repayment from students," said Steve Bowers, FSCJ Associate Vice President of Administrative Services.
Students whose academic standards aren't up to snuff for the grants may submit an appeal to make their claim that serious events, such as an illness or death in the family, resulted in their poor performance. If the student cannot provide a reason, he or she must repay the debt.
Those students may owe anywhere from $219 to $8,325, reported the Florida Times-Union.
FSCJ has stated they plan to hire real-estate attorney Bill Scheu, who gained fame after he helped Planned Parenthood and the Christian Coalition reach an agreement on sex education in public schools in the 1990s. Scheu's report on college's financial errors will be not released until August.
"They may not like what I say, they may like what I say," Scheu told the Times-Union. "But I don't see this as an auditing of each of these files. It's going to be more of an institutional look at it so that the public can be assured that the college is back on the right track."