National Merit Scholars and Florida Benacquisto

This scholarship in Florida is wonderful. It covers the institutional cost of attendance.

Florida students have to attend a 9 hour summer semester which is not included. My issue now is: Will Out-Of-State scholars pay instate rates or be exempt as the law SB-4 implies?

A discussion I am having with the Florida Senate Office…………

( But your response doesn’t answer my question. This is not a funding question. The site you gave me reads as follows:

“2. An eligible student who meets the requirements of paragraph (4)(b), who is a National Merit Scholar, and who attends a Florida public postsecondary educational institution shall receive a scholarship award equal to the institutional cost of attendance for a resident of this state minus the student’s National Merit Scholarship. Such student is exempt from the payment of out-of-state fees.”

Specifically, it states that an Out of state Scholar: “shall receive a scholarship award equal to the institutional cost of attendance for a resident of this state” and " Such student is exempt from the payment of out-of-state fees".

So, again, Is an Out-of-State student to receive an award EQUAL…to the cost of attendance for a resident of the state?(as it says)Is such a student exempt from out-of-state fees? (as it says)

This section does not address summers semesters. This section implies that the Out-of-state scholar is to be EQUAL to the instate recipient AND NOT assessed out-of-state fees.

Therefore, it can be deduced, that if a student is forced to attend summer semester and charged out-of-state tuition and fees, that student would no longer be equal to the instate resident nor would he be exempt from the payment of out-of-state fees, in violation of the law.

If the enumerated Universities who take part in National Merit in Florida wish to follow the law as written, they would simply charge ALL Benacquisto Scholars the same (equal) Instate rates.

Looking forward to your response, )

PS I would be glad to answer any other Benacquisto questions about the Florida scholarship.

@FSUdad93 Luke @ UCF talked about this & I don’t remember all the details, but I seem to remember he said summer sessions would be at in-state rates. There was a bit of a discussion on it & UCF understands the out of state NM Scholar Benacquisto recipients to receive in-state tuition rates for summer sessions.

So this is all Florida schools correct

I don’t think the OOS students have to pay OOS rates in the summer, but even if they did, it is only for about 6 credits. It would be a couple thousand dollars and the rest of the $160-180k education is FREE.

I think it is available at 12 public schools and then there is a formula for figuring out how much it will pay at private schools (if I’m remembering correctly, it is about $23k?)

UCF was a 100% before for NMS. Therefore it is currently instate rates for summer. The law reads that they are exempt. FSU and UF have both stated at their Financial aid offices they plan on charging OOS rates. Currently each semester the participating school dumps half of the $23,000 in ones account. My son is currently on the Benacquisto. It is wonderful.

It is a 5 year times $23500 for instate or 5 year $43500 for OOS.

@FSUdad93 I have a couple of questions for you about the scholarship. I know it covers full cost of attendance, but does that mean only if the student is living on campus? Or will they get a housing stipdend if they move off campus when they become upper classmen?

And you mentioned 5 years, does that mean a student can use the scholarship for undergrad + master’s degree like they can at Alabama?

Any idea how study abroad works with this scholarship?

Thanks for your help!

@brentwoodmom , I have an OOS NMF Benacquisto recipient attending FSU. The portion of the award for housing is based on a typical 2 room on campus dorm, but yes it can be used off campus. Next year he will be off campus and so after tuition is paid, FSU will put all the rest into his personal bank account to use for his housing, food, books etc…If you don’t buy an expensive meal plan and cook in your apartment with suite mates instead of eating out too often, you can save lots of money or use it on more expensive housing. Study abroad is not covered by Benacquisto in the summer. If you took a fall term abroad, I suspect that the tuition would be covered unless there was a surcharge for that program.

My daughter talked to Luke at UCF and he assured her that instate rates apply for summer school.

@FSUdad93 How is the $23,500 for in state UF students determined? My financial aid page says a smaller amount that when added with Bright Futures equals $22,210, and I didn’t know if that was correct.

@hnstudent: Per the State University System of Florida, for 2018-19 Benacquisto covers the cost of attendance of $21,210. One would assume that the extra $1,000 is either an additional (stackable) scholarship or the adjustment for 2019-2020. See Hope this helps.

Just to confirm what some posters have said before. UF financial aid confirmed via email that 2019-20 OOS Benacquisto will be 21210 (minus NMS) and UF summer fees will also be in-state.

OSFA had previously told us that summer residency status needs to be discussed with the college DS is attending. Which may explain why there seems to be some inconsistency as to whether OOS Benacquisto scholars pay in-state for summer.

Can you stack outside scholarships with the Benacquisto, or do they end up reducing the amount of the scholarship?

@TrendaLeigh My DD is on the Benacquisto at UCF and since it is a full COA scholarship they reduce the award with any outside scholarships. You don’t lose any money, you just don’t gain any either.

I’m jumping on this thread late in the game, but I’m still unclear on whether my OOS student would be required to remain in state for a summer semester with the Benacquisto scholarship. (He would be attending U Miami). I had emailed the Florida Dept. of Ed a few questions a couple of months ago and their response to my question about required summer residency was “There currently is no stipulation regarding residency during the summer”. From the other comments on this thread I’m nervous that is not correct. @vistajay, @fsuda93 do or others have a definitive answer on this? Thank you!

@kforty2 , you need to confirm with Miami FA office, but here is my 2 cents. Florida Benacquisto does not require that recipients attend any summer classes. That is a FL public school requirement, that does not apply to Miami as Miami is private. If your child wanted to attend summer school at Miami, Miami’s normal tuition for summer classes would apply. Benacquisto won’t pay for summer classes. You would need to seek FA through Miami for any financial assistance with Miami summer classes. Did I address your question?

Thanks @vistajay! Yes, I will definitely check with Miami directly. We go to visit (for the first time) next week. I just happened to see this thread and was prompted to revisit the question of a required summer residency.

Does the student have to use the money deposited into their bank account according to the Estimated Cost of Attendance for each category or can they use lets say for example more money for transportation than allotted but less for books and supplies . Obviously all funds have to be used for legitimate undergraduate expenses/costs.

They really don’t. Once the money is in your account you can use it for anything you want - travel, food, beer, pizza, taxes, lotto tickets. It’s your money.

Yes they can use it for anything they want. My son had leftover money at the end of the year that he used for living expenses during summer school.