FSCJ board votes to retire Pell grant, SAP overpayments

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida State College of Jacksonville's board of trustees voted Tuesday to retire debt owed by more than 1,000 students related to ineligible federal financial aid awards, the college announced.

After discussion at Tuesday's meeting, the agenda item was approved unanimously.

An audit review revealed that for the academic years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, overpayments to students as a result of improperly approved Satisfactory Academic Progress, or SAP appeals, resulted in overpayments of $4.2 million in Pell grants and $800,000 in ineligible loans, the college said.

DOCUMENT: Agenda item from Interim President Willis Holcombe, financial summary

After months of asking the students for repayment, the college now says students will be notified in writing of the decision for forgive the debt.

In a press release, the college said it was noted that this was a unique situation and does not affect the College's standard policy on loan repayment.

"It was also noted that the funds that will be used to cover the debt come from existing quasi-endowment funds accumulated from auxiliary operations such as the bookstores and vending machines, and not from taxpayer funds or student tuition and fees," according to FSCJ.

The school's president, Willis Holcombe, says this move is a great relief to students.

"Students are graduating, students are wanting to continue their education, they want to reach their goals," Holcombe said. "We should be helping them, and we are. So that's the most exciting part."

Students who have already started to repay their grants will get their money back.

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