Private investigations

Marley Butcher, Connect Editor

College season fast approaches and seniors apply to the schools they are interested in attending.  Private schools can be as easy to be accepted into as public universities, but the cost of a private school is much higher. The Florida Institute of Technology, for example, costs $31,734 a year while at the University of Florida, the cost of tuition is $18,380 a year. But private school applicants need not pay the advertised price. Scholarships and grants are available for students. The combined dollar amount of scholarships and grants offered at FIT alone, could cover $22,280 a year dropping the price to $9,454 a year. According to Jay Lally who is the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at FIT, more than  535 of his school’s 539 first full-time freshman had some type of scholarship or grant assistance.

Gary Hamme is vice provost for enrollment management at FIT and helps potential students to receive scholarships.

“Many scholarships are available from state, university and private sources,” Hamme said.  “When looking at private universities, the sticker price is never the final cost. Here are some benefits  of Florida Tech:  ratio of nine students to one faculty member; attentive academic advisers with Ph.D.s; get started in your major in year one;  you specialize in year two. You have the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years – not six.  Recent graduates report a 97 percent placement rate in jobs, graduate schools or military service within six months of graduation.”

Adrian Milford, admissions representative at the University of North Florida, a state school, helps find and publicize available scholarships.

“The rough number of students that receive UNF scholarships is around 280 per year,” Milford said. “These are merit-based. There is also need-based UNF grants as well as state aid and numbers for those are usually not generated but we usually work on a dollar amount and we attempt to award as many students as possible while still offering an acceptable award amount.”

Milford describes the differences between public and private colleges and the benefits of  attending a public colleges.

“Private schools offer different things than public schools,” Milford said. “ Private schools tend to cost more and are smaller, whereas public schools are state-funded but are larger. In particular, the University of North Florida is the best of both worlds.

“We offer state tuition (a third to a quarter of the cost of private and out-of-state schools), while offering smaller classes sizes because we are a smaller state university,” Milford said. “Public schools offer resources that private schools cannot. Public schools have the support of the state government – bringing with that support, free resources for students to use across campus.”