JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After multiple audits, Florida State Collegeat Jacksonville revealed during a news conference Tuesday that the latest financial audits found that a high error rate was found in the financial aid department.
These errors took place mostly during the 2010-2011 school year, but some did take place in the following year. The errors cost the college $2.5 million.
The base of the issue is the alleged misappropriation of Pell Grants.
Our news partners the Florida Times-Union reported continuing education programs at Navy bases in Pensacola and Illinois should not have counted toward students reported to be enrolled "full time."
After checking with FSCJ officials, First Coast News learned the students did not receive Pell grants mentioned in the financial audit.
Tracy Pierce, FSCJ Vice President, Student Development and Community Education, said the students from Great Lakes, Illinois, and Pensacola military contracts do not qualify for Federal Financial Aid so they did not receive Pell grants.
Now some students are being forced to pay back that Pell Grant money they received. That's nearly $3 million combined.
Students who were inaccurately approved for financial aid have been sent letters, said James McCollum, FSCJ's chair of the board of trustees. To keep the aid monies, students will need to provide documentation that shows they are rightly due aid.
In the 2010-2011 school year, there were 48,000 aid applications. 6,000 went for appeals, and there were 700 potential errors, which is considered to be high, McCollum said.
During a board meeting held after the news conference about the audits, FSCJ's board voted to raise tuition by 3 percent. The tuition increase was not related to the audits.