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 (including hours already completed) 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 regular semester and 6 credit hours total per 12-week summer 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.
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 2009 the in-state matriculation fee, including the tuition differential for UF, was $102.33 per credit hour, while the total rate per credit hour was $145.76. If an eligible HEO student who was not awarded a Bright Futures scholarship was taking 12 credits in fall of 2009 at the UF, the HEO would cover $1,227.96 ($102.33 multiplied by 12 credits). The student would be responsible for $521.16 ($145.76 – $102.33 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.
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. The 132 credit hours maximum may be reduced by college hours previously completed.
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.
Is there any HEO benefit for my child who is receiving an Academic Bright Futures scholarship?
At the university-level, the Florida Academic Scholars Bright Futures scholarship pays the in-state matriculation fees at a flat amount per credit hour during the spring and fall semesters. The HEO will pay the tuition differential per credit hour. At the community/state college-level, Bright Futures pays a flat amount per credit hour during the spring and fall semesters, and no HEO benefit will be paid. Since the Bright Futures scholarship does not cover the summer semesters, the HEO program will cover the in-state matriculation fees for up to 6 total credit hours during the summer semesters. Please refer to the Florida Department of Education website at http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/bf/bfmain.htm for current award amounts.
What about a Medallion Bright Futures scholarship?
For Florida Medallion Bright Futures scholars, the HEO covers 25% of the in-state matriculation fees—including the tuition differential—and Bright Futures pays a flat amount at the university and community/state college levels during the spring and fall semesters. As with the Florida Academic Bright Futures scholars, the HEO can be used to cover the in-state matriculation fees for up to 6 total credit hours during the summer semesters. Please refer to the Florida Department of Education website at http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/bf/bfmain.htm for current award amounts.
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.
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