Client News

The Ledger: Private Colleges Will Provide the Way for Student Success

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I enjoyed reading The Ledger editorial “Florida’s Higher Education: Fix Financial Aid” [May 18] and I appreciate the concern for our students’ financial welfare. State financial aid alone may not be sufficient for undergraduates to receive their public education without incurring debt.

In the private, nonprofit sector of education, however, many of these issues are alleviated.

Polk County is home to five independent institutions: Florida Southern, Keiser, Southeastern, Warner Southern and Webber International.

Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida members make significant efforts to ensure students have a myriad of financial-aid options should they choose to attend a private institution.

Nearly 80 percent of ICUF undergraduates receive some form of financial aid, and undergraduates receiving aid directly from the institution are provided an average of $11,000 per student in this type of aid.

ICUF undergraduates are eligible to receive the Florida Residence Access Grant, the Florida Student Assistance Grant, as well as the Bright Futures scholarship.

While increasing qualifications for Bright Futures may reduce aid options for a disproportionate amount of minority students, private institutions regularly meet the needs of minority and nontraditional students.

Eight of the 10 Florida four-year colleges and universities with the highest percentage of minority scholars are ICUF institutions, as are eight of the 10 Florida colleges with the highest percentage of aid applicants with family incomes below $60,000 per year.

Additionally, 38 percent of ICUF undergraduates are 25 or older, compared to 18 percent at State University System schools.

Funding financial-aid programs should always be a priority for our lawmakers.

During the 2013 legislative session, they took great steps by increasing both FRAG and need-based student aid.

Yet we cannot ignore the potential debt that many students will face when pursuing their degrees. For many of these students, these independent institutions provide them with a way to afford the higher education they require to be successful.

« Return to News