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Your journey through higher education at FGCU is taking off. It’s an exciting time of scholarly exploration and self-discovery culminating at your final destination: graduation. Even with a few diversions along the way, you can get there in 4 years or less. FGCU delivers the strategy and resources you need to make it happen, including Soar in 4: The Governor’s Challenge. This program provides incoming freshmen additional incentive to stay on track to a 4-year degree and secure a job — including a rebate on first-year tuition. To be eligible for the payback, you must sign up during your first semester, so be sure to read the requirements below.

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  • THE MORE YOU DELAY, THE MORE YOU PAY. Each year at FGCU costs about $20,000 for in-state tuition and fees, meal plan, housing, transportation and books. Can you afford taking longer than four years to finish a degree?

  • LOWER DEBT AT GRADUATION. Many students borrow because financial aid doesn’t cover all costs. Adding in interest on loans makes repaying that debt a costly proposition right at the start of a career.

  • GET A HEAD START ON A CAREER. You’ll be earning money and living the dream while your friends are still finishing school. And your ability to manage time and achieve your goals looks good on a resume.

  • EARN A SOAR IN 4 PAYBACK. It pays to graduate on time. Qualifying students receive a rebate of out-of-pocket freshman tuition if they complete all of the program’s requirements. See Eligibility FAQ for details and sample refund calculations.

The FGCU Effect
  • MAKE A MAJOR DECISION FRESHMAN YEAR. Use resources like MyPlan.com to make sure your interests, skills and personality are a good match for the major and career you’re considering.

  • USE ACADEMIC AND CAREER ADVISING. Early and often. All freshmen are required to meet with an advisor during the first semester, and annual advising is mandatory to qualify for the Soar in 4 rebate. Missing key prerequisites or deadlines or dropping classes can throw you off course and ultimately increase costs. Our advisors and tracking software help you map a degree plan, coordinate your general education needs with your major requirements and make sure you register for the right classes at the right time.

  • TAKE 15 TO FINISH. DO THE MATH. A full 15-credit load each semester, or average of 30 credits per year, adds up to a 4-year degree. Online courses and summer sessions can help you get ahead or catch up if you need to.

  • PUT ACADEMICS FIRST. Jobs, friends and fun are important, too, but can distract you from the main reason you’re here: to complete your education and prepare for a career. Stay focused.

  • OWN YOUR SUCCESS. Time management, good study habits and priority setting are key — and ultimately your responsibility. New Student Programs and the Center for Academic Achievement are among the FGCU offices offering coaching and other assistance you may need.

  • FIND YOUR TRIBE. Living-Learning Communities, professional associations and other student organizations bring together peers who share interests and goals. Join and build lifelong contacts.

  • NAIL THE INTERNSHIP. It’s resumé gold. Colleges and programs connect undergraduates with opportunities to gain hands-on work experience that can validate your choice of major and impress potential employers or grad schools. Internships often lead to full-time jobs.

  • WORK THE NETWORK. Student peers, Eagle alumni and FGCU’s partners in the professional world are a rich resource for success strategies and mentoring. Attend Career Development Services job fairs and recruitment expos on campus.

Grad Student

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The following criteria must be met to be awarded the rebate.

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  1. Provide evidence that they have received academic advising and/or career counseling on major selection, career decision making, and career prospects consistently throughout their four years;

  2. Select a major in their freshman year and graduate from FGCU in four years or less;

  3. Provide evidence that they have participated in internships, co-op work experiences, or other similar opportunities with potential employers;

  4. Provide evidence that they have utilized FGCU Career Development Services, including:

    • In-person advising (resume preparation, interview techniques, etc.)
    • Participation in recruitment events hosted by Career Development Services or the Office of Internships & Co-operative Programs.
    • Application to full-time jobs
  5. Provide evidence of full-time employment in Florida within six months following graduation, with an annualized salary of $25,000 or higher, or enlistment in U.S. military.

  1. Am I eligible for Soar in 4? If you are a degree-seeking First Time in College (freshman) student who began your studies at FGCU on or after the summer 2015 semester, then you are eligible to participate. This includes international and out-of-state students.

  2. If I am an eligible student, what do I need to do to sign up for the 
    If you are an eligible student, you will begin the sign-up process as part of your initial advising session during your first semester.  This process will take place in either First Year Advising (in the Office of New Student Programs) or Undergraduate Studies Advising (depending on who you are advised by).  Your advisor will start the paperwork process with you, and review eligibility criteria.

  3. Who keeps track of my eligibility from year to year? As you progress through the various benchmarks (such as advising meetings, career counseling sessions, employer recruiting events, and experiential learning) professional staff will verify your completion of activities and document this in your student record.  This process will be maintained internally by FGCU professional staff (advisors, career counselors, etc.).  In order to confirm what you have completed over the course of your four years (or less), we recommend asking the professional staff you interact with for a copy of your completion verification form each time you complete a qualifying activity (such as an advising session).

  4. How long do I have to graduate in order to qualify for the rebate?
    You have eight consecutive spring and fall semesters to complete your degree. For example, if you started at FGCU in the Fall or Summer of 2015, you must graduate no later than Spring 2019. If you started in the Spring of 2016, you must graduate no later than Fall 2019.

    Matriculation Term

    (when you started at FGCU)          

    Graduation Term

    (when you must complete you degree by)

    Summer 2015 Spring 2019
    Fall 2015 Spring 2019
    Spring 2016 Fall 2019
    Summer 2016 Spring 2020
    Fall 2016 Spring 2020
    Spring 2017 Fall 2020
    Summer 2017 Spring 2021
    Fall 2017 Spring 2021
    Spring 2018 Fall 2021
    Summer 2018 Spring 2022
    Fall 2018 Spring 2022
    Spring 2019 Fall 2022
    Summer 2019 Spring 2023
    Fall 2019 Spring 2023
    Spring 2020 Fall 2023
    Summer 2020 Spring 2024
    Fall 2020 Spring 2024

  5. It will take me more than four years to complete my degree.  Can I still receive the rebate? In order to be eligible for the rebate, you must complete your degree program within the maximum four year time period.  If a degree program takes you longer than four years to complete (even by one semester), then you will not be eligible for the rebate program.  Students should work with an advisor to be proactive and stay on track for a timely graduation.

  6. How many credits am I eligible to use toward a rebate?  How is this total determined? The maximum number of credits earned at FGCU during the first year that are eligible for the rebate is 30.  In order to complete an undergraduate degree (typically 120 credits) in a timely manner (4 years), students should expect to earn 30 credits per year. Courses taken outside of FGCU during the first year of enrollment (i.e. through transient enrollment or through testing mechanisms such as CLEP) are not eligible for the rebate program.

  7. Who can verify my completion of the activities required over the course of my degree progression (such as academic advising meetings, career activities, etc.)? FGCU personnel authorized to electronically sign a student’s initial eligibility and tracking form include: academic counselors in First Year Advising, academic advisors in Undergraduate Studies Advising, academic advisors in the College Advising Offices, staff in the Office of Career Development Services, and staff in the Office of Internships and Cooperative Programs.

  8. How often do I need to meet with these individuals to be eligible for the tuition rebate? To be in compliance with the requirements of the rebate program, you must meet with authorized FGCU personnel at least once per academic year. During these advising/counseling sessions, you should be discussing the choice of a major, the process of career decision-making, the sequencing of degree requirements to stay on track for a timely graduation, and career prospects related to your major. When you meet with an academic advisor or career counselor, this individual will verify your completion of the qualifying activity via an electronic signature on your eligibility and tracking form, which will be internally maintained by FGCU personnel. Although meetings are only required once per year, it is recommended that you meet with an academic advisor or career counselor whenever you have questions or concerns. FGCU student services staff are here to help you be successful both as an undergraduate student, and in your next step once you leave The Nest!
  1. How soon can I know how much money would be rebated to me upon graduation and employment? After you have completed your freshman year, you will be able view your potential rebate amount on Gulfline. Listed below are two (2) examples of a rebate calculation.  The first example is for a student paying In-State Tuition and the second example is for a student paying Out-of-State Tuition.

    Example # 1: In-State Student

    Tuition Base


    Tuition Differential


    Total Tuition per credit hour


    Earned FGCU credit hours during Freshman Year


    Total Tuition charged before Gift Aid


    LESS Gift Aid


    Potential Rebate Amount


    Example # 2: Out-of-State Student

    Tuition Base


    Tuition Differential


    Total Tuition per credit hour


    Earned FGCU credit hours during Freshman Year


    Total Tuition charged before Gift Aid


    LESS Gift Aid


    Potential Rebate Amount


  2. How do I apply for my rebate? You will need to submit a Soar in 4 application along with all requested documentation to the Office of the Bursar within one (1) year of your graduation date. (Specific information on how to access the form will be added once becomes available.)

  3. Will out-of-state tuition be refunded? Yes - if you were charged out-of-state tuition during your freshman year it will be included in your rebate calculation.  For additional information on the calculation please see the examples listed under question # 1 in the Regarding Determination of Rebate Amount section of the Q&A. 

  4. If I had financial aid, can I still qualify for the rebate? Yes. However, any Gift Aid will be subtracted during the calculation of your rebate.

  5. What is considered to be Gift Aid? When calculating your rebate, any payment posted to your student account that is not out-of-pocket will be considered to be Gift Aid. Some examples would be scholarships, grants, waivers, third party payments and veteran benefits.
  1. Who can I talk to if I have questions about the program? The Office of the Bursar is the primary contact for this program. Please direct all questions to cashiers@fgcu.edu.

  2. What terms are eligible for Soar in 4: The Governor's Challenge? Based upon when you first enroll at FGCU, only the first three (3) consecutive terms you couldenroll at the university will be applicable for consideration:

    • Summer Admit: If you first enroll at FGCU for the summer term, your eligible credits will include courses taken at FGCU during the summer, fall, and spring semesters.  For example, a summer 2016 admit can only earn eligible credits during the summer 2016, fall 2016, and spring 2017 semesters.
    • Fall Admit: If you first enroll at FGCU for the fall term, your eligible credits will include courses taken at FGCU during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.  For example, a fall 2016 admit can only earn eligible credits during the fall 2016, spring 2017, and summer 2017 semesters.
    • Spring Admit: If you first enroll at FGCU for the spring term, your eligible credits will include courses taken at FGCU during the spring, summer, and fall semesters.  For example, a spring 2017 admit can only earn eligible credits during the spring 2017, summer 2017, and fall 2017 semesters.

  3. When did the program start? The program started with students admitted to the summer 2015 term and forward.

  4. What tax form is required for the processing of the rebate?
    • U S Citizens and Resident Aliens should complete and submit a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.
    • Non-Resident Aliens should complete and submit a Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United State Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals).
  5. When should the appropriate tax form be submitted? The completed Form W-9 or Form W-8BEN should accompany the executed Soar in 4: The Governor's Challenge application.

  6. Will the rebate be subject to federal tax?
    • For U S Citizens and Resident Aliens, the rebate will be reported to the IRS on Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income if the total rebate is in excess of $600.
    • For Non-Resident Aliens, the entire rebate will be reported to the IRS on Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U S Source Income Subject to Withholding.
“Build a good rapport with your professors and mentors because they will be the ones to help you realize your true potential.”
– Dakendo Michel ’15, Social Work
“I worked closely with my advisors and the Center for Academic Achievement in order to stay on track and ensure I passed all my classes. Our campus has so many resources available to help students succeed.”
– Molly O’Donnell ’16, Health Science
“Graduating in 4 years is not impossible, but you do have to prioritize and manage your time. It made me proud to know I could stick with it and graduate on time because it wasn’t easy and so many students don’t.”
– Danielle Christy ‘16, Elementary Education

Each of FGCU’s 5 colleges includes academic advisors, mentoring programs and internship coordinators. Other resources include:

FGCU Library