For Madison Skipper, getting hit with a tuition late fee is the difference between cooking at home and going to the food pantry.
“I’m working as a waitress and selling blood plasma to make sure I have enough money to pay rent. I can’t afford the $100 late fee on top of that,” said the 19-year-old biology major.
Skipper is one of the UF Summer B students who have been affected by the delay of payments from the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.
Bright Futures is supposed to cover full tuition for students who are eligible but payments have been set back to tonight, right before the Friday tuition deadline, UF spokesman Steve Orlando said.
To be eligible for Bright Futures to cover full tuition, students must take at least six credit hours and have the highest level of the scholarship, the Florida Academic Scholar level.
If students haven’t paid tuition by Friday, the university will charge them a $100 late fee.
Skipper never received a notification that the payments were going to be delayed. If Bright Futures does not pay her tuition, she will have to pay for it and the late fee out of pocket. To save money for that possibility and rent, she had to pick up extra work on top of her full class schedule.
She has been proactive about contacting Student Financial Affairs and the University Bursar since she found out about the delay, but no one has been able to tell her when she can expect to get her scholarship money.
“I’ve tried calling the financial affairs office multiple times,” she said. “Most of the time, they don’t pick up. Even when they do, no one seems to have a clear answer for me.”
The Office for Student Financial Affairs was unable to be reached for comment.