Student Loans for Florida International University Students
With two campuses nestled in the international and vibrant urban sprawl of Miami, Florida International University is a public research university dedicated to enhancing both the local and global communities.
Offering students the opportunity to pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at a top-tier research institution, Florida International University, or FIU, is an academic leader in South Florida.
Most students come from within the state of Florida, and FIU has a slightly higher female population than male, according to US News. The University of Florida is one of the nation’s leaders in granting bachelor’s degree to the Hispanic population, and FIU has an ethnically diverse student body. The majority of students choose to live off campus, and most students are a few years out of high school.
FIU has a thriving student life at both the Modesto Maidique Campus (MMC) located in West Miami-Dade County and the Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC) in North Miami. FIU prides itself in a strong athletics program as well as a flourishing arts and culture scene. The Graham Center (GC) is a prime spot to hang out and socialize while study groups can take advantage of one of the nation’s leading research facilities, the Steven and Dorothea Grey Library (GL). With a sustainable and green campus, FIU also hosts a weekly organic farmer’s market.
Students at FIU may choose to get involved in one of the numerous clubs or student organizations on campus, explore the bustling city of Miami, or kick back and enjoy the balmy Florida weather while receiving a top-notch education.
When determining your higher education budget, it is important to consider all the factors that will contribute to your total cost of attendance. Do you plan to attend college full-time or part-time, for example? Tuition itself may vary depending on your circumstances. For instance, in-state tuition at FIU is $203.59 a credit while non-Florida residents will pay $616.89 a credit – a difference of $413.30 per credit. You also need to take into account textbooks and supplies, which can be a hefty portion of a college budget. Books cost an average of $1,392 for full-time undergraduate students attending both fall and spring semesters at FIU, while full-time graduate students are likely to pay $1,852 a year. You can cut costs on textbooks by buying your books used or comparison shopping on the Internet.
Another factor when budgeting for college is your transportation costs, which FIU estimates to be around $2,898 annually. In order to park on campus, you will need a parking decal; the first one is free each year if you have paid all your fees. If you live on campus and need an FIU residence parking garage spot, it costs $171.20 per semester. Carpooling is a cost-effective and green way to commute to campus. FIU has partnered with South Florida Commuter Services (SFCS) in order to provide carpool matching services and permits for preferred parking as well as the option to earn $150 a month just by registering your eligible carpool route. There are several public transportation options at FIU that can save you money, as well. For example, the CATS Shuttle, North Miami Express Bus, and Sweetwater Trolley are all free to students traveling along their published routes. Students may also take advantage of the Golden Panther Express Shuttle for $2.50 a ride between the two FIU campuses. Students who utilize these options at least two times per week may qualify for the Emergency Ride Home program that grants students up to six free taxi rides home per year. Students can also take advantage of the Miami-Dade transit system by purchasing an Easy Card for $56.25 a month, which is half off the normal price. Students may also save 50 percent on Tri-Rail tickets as well.
Room and board costs are also a big chunk of your college budget and can be highly variable depending on where you choose to live. On-campus residence hall rates for the fall and spring of 2015 range from $2,350 per semester for a three-person, two-bedroom apartment in University Apartments to $2,700 per semester for a shared bedroom in Panther Hall up to $4,200 a semester for a private bedroom with a bath in the University Towers. These rates do not include the meal plans, which are an additional $50-$1,499 per meal plan, depending on how much access and how many meals you would like included.Off-campus rent prices near FIU can be high, averaging well over $1,000 a month and sometimes closer to $1,500, although certain communities a little farther away, including Hialeah, Tamiami, University Park, and Fountainebleau are generally more affordable, according to Adobo. Sharing with a roommate or living at home with your parents a little longer can save you in room and board costs.
Financial Aid Options
Most students will require some form of financial aid in order to fully fund and afford higher education. Financial aid comes in the form of either free money through scholarships or grants, or borrowed funds via student loans. Student financial aid at FIU is funded through federal, state, and university programs.
Students who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may qualify for in-state tuition. DACA students will often need to seek out private and outside scholarships for additional financial aid, however.
Scholarships are typically merit-based and highly competitive while grants are often need-based and offered to those demonstrating financial need. Scholarships at FIU include:
- Presidential Scholarship: for incoming freshmen with a 4.0 GPA and a score of 2000 on the SATs or 30 on the ACTs; award amount covers tuition fees and books 100 percent
- Ambassador Scholarship: for incoming freshmen with a 4.0 GPA and 1850 SAT score or 28 ACT score; award amount covers 75 percent of tuition and fees plus book expenses
- Transfer Academic Scholarship: for students with a 4.0 GPA and at least 60 transferable credits or an AA degree; award amount covers 50 percent of tuition and fees plus book expenses
- National Merit Scholarship: for incoming freshmen awarded a Presidential or Ambassador Scholarship and are National Merit Finalists (less than 1 percent of PSAT takers in the state qualify); award covers full cost of attendance
- National Achievement Scholarship: for an incoming freshman awarded Presidential or Ambassador Scholarship and is a National Achievement Finalist (less than 1 percent of PSAT takers in the state qualify); award covers full cost of attendance
- National Hispanic Scholarship: for incoming freshmen with at least one parent who is 100 percent Hispanic/Latina/Latino, awarded a Presidential or Ambassador Scholarship, and is a National Hispanic Scholar Finalist (less than 2 percent of PSAT takers in the state qualify); award covers full cost of attendance
- Bright Futures Scholarships: includes Florida Academic Scholars, Florida Medallion Scholars, and Gold Seal Vocational Scholars; open to Florida residents with qualifying test scores, GPAs, and community service requirements; awards up to 100 percent of program of study
Need-based grants funded by the government, state of Florida, or Florida International University include:
- Federal Pell Grant: for undergraduate dependent students seeking their first bachelor’s degree; award amounts vary depending on enrollment status and COA; not to exceed $5,815 for the 2016-2017 academic year
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): for undergraduate students with extreme financial need; funds disbursed through the school on a first-come, first-serve basis; awards may vary between $100 and $4,000 per year
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: federal grant for those pursuing a teaching career who sign an agreement-to-serve letter to teach in a low-income and high-need field after completion of program; awards up to $4,000 a year
- Florida Student Assistance Grant (FSAG): for eligible Florida resident students attending college at least half-time (six credits) who maintain a GPA between 2.0 and 4.0; award amounts range from $200-$2,650 a year and are disbursed by the school on a limited and first-come, first-served basis
- Leverage Grant: institutional grant for students demonstrating financial need and not eligible for the Pell Grant; awards between $1,000 and $2,000 per year
- University Grant: institutional grant; awards limited and range from $950-$1,900 annually
- Tuition Deferential Grant: institutional grant; limited award amounts range between $250 and $1,000 per year
- Upper Division Full Time Grant: university-based grant for undergraduate students enrolled in at least 12 credits who have completed the CLAST exam; award amount of $2,000 a year; extremely limited
- Graduate Need Grant: university-based grant for full-time graduate students taking at least nine credits; awards $5,000 a year
Another option for eligible students is the federal Work-Study Program, which allows students to work on or off campus, usually in service-based fields part-time, up to 20 hours a week, in order to help pay for the cost of tuition. If you qualify, you will need to apply for specific jobs that are generally flexible with your class schedule.
The first step to apply for financial aid at FIU is to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which may entitle you to federal, state, or university-based aid. In order to do so, you need to be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number. Males need to be registered for the U.S. Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 25. You also need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, be enrolled as a regular student in a degree-granting or certificate-granting program at a participating school, and maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) while in school. In order to receive funds, you also may not have any federal loans in default and you are required to sign a statement indicating that you will use any and all funds disbursed to you for educational purposes only. This may include using the funds for tuition and school fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and child care.
You will need to create a FSA ID to complete and submit your FAFSA online, which acts as your digital signature and grants you access to your federal financial aid information. To do so, you will need your name, birthday, and Social Security number. Additionally, the FAFSA will ask you to provide your current employment information, most up-to-date tax records, and any other potentially relevant financial information. If you are under age 24, unmarried, and have no dependents of your own, you may be considered a dependent student in which case you will also need your parents’ Social Security numbers, as well as their tax and financial information. The FAFSA will use all of your financial details to calculate your expected family contribution, or EFC, which determines how much and what type of aid you may qualify for. Your financial aid package cannot exceed your total cost of attendance, COA, at Florida International University.
Funds are generally disbursed twice a year, first to the school to pay any tuition, fees, or room and board costs. If there are any additional funds, those may be disbursed directly to you to pay for remaining educational costs. You will need a myFIU account in order to manage your financial aid, and with this, you can opt to have any refunds automatically deposited into your personal account. You may also qualify for a Book Advance if you are entitled to additional funds beyond tuition and fees. This is loaded onto your FIU One Card. You will receive an email through your FIU email account if you are eligible for this.
Student Loans at FIU
If after taking advantage of all of the free and gift money options open to you as a student at FIU, you still need assistance in affording college, then student loans are a viable option. Your first choice should be federal student loans as they offer low and fixed interest rates with flexible repayment plans, and payment often doesn’t start until after graduation. Federal student loans are disbursed under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program and include:
- Subsidized Direct Loans: based on financial need and offered to undergraduate students with a current interest rate of 3.76 percent for loans; the federal government covers interest payments during deferment; students may borrow between $3,500 and $5,500 per year, up to $23,000 over four years, depending on financial need, year in school, dependency, and enrollment status
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans: not based on financial need; offered to both graduate and undergraduate students at current interest rates of 3.76 percent for undergraduate students and 5.31 percent for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 for graduate students; undergraduate students may borrow between $5,500 and $12,500 in unsubsidized and subsidized loans, combined up to an aggregate loan limit of $31,000 for dependent students over four years and $57,500 for independent students, depending on year in school, enrollment, and dependency status; graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 per year up to an aggregate loan limit of $138,500, which includes any undergraduate loan amounts
- Parent and Graduate PLUS Loans: offered to the parents of dependent undergraduate students or to graduate students; based on a credit check, with current interest rates of 6.31 percent for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017; borrowed funds may equal up to total cost of attendance minus any other financial aid already received
- Federal Perkins Loans: federal loans considered campus-based as they are disbursed through the school, with the school as your lender; dependent on financial need and offered to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with a current interest rate of 5 percent; undergraduate students may borrow up to $5,500 per year up to a total of $27,500, while graduate students may borrow $8,000 per year up to a total of $60,000, which includes any funds you borrowed as an undergraduate as well
When you are offered your student loan, you have the option to accept any or all of the funds, and it is recommended that you only borrow as much as you need. You will then accept your loan amount and sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN), detailing your loan information and acting as a legal contract. Student first-time borrowers must also attend entrance counseling when they initiate a loan and exit counseling when they are expected to begin repayment, which will detail all of the rights and responsibilities as a borrower. The repayment period generally starts when you drop below half-time status, leave school, or graduate, and most loan options offer a grace period of at least six months.
For students who experience a temporary or sudden financial hardship, FIU offers short-term loan and emergency loans. Your financial aid counselor will have more information on these options.
Your last resort should be a private or alternative student loan. These loans are funded by private financial institutions and generally have higher, and even variable, interest rates. This means that interest rates may increase over the life of your loan. You will also likely require a co-signer to receive the best rates as private loans are not based on financial need, but rather require a credit check.
Pay for Florida International University*
|Total Avg. Cost||$34,252|
|Room & Board||$8,220|
|Financial Aid Information|
|Students Receiving Fin Aid||90%|
|Typical Grant Amounts|
|Avg. Other Stud. Loans||$11,291|
|%Receiving Other Loans||1%|
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*Data source is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) the data collection program for the National Center for Education Statistics