9 Investigates scholarship money in limbo for disabled UCF students



ORLANDO, Fla. - Some disabled students at the University of Central Florida are worried they’ll be kicked off campus because the state hasn’t turned over money for their scholarships.

9 Investigates found out those students may lose access to their dorm rooms if the state doesn’t pay up.

University officials said they are not planning any evictions and are working with the students to get through the problem.

The money is part of the state’s vocational rehabilitation program, which is designed to help students with disabilities.

At UCF, 97 percent of the students are on some form of financial aid.

Education senior Vanessa Salazar relies on the state’s vocational rehabilitation program and relies on the money for basic needs as a student. The money is the only way she can afford to attend UCF, but on Monday the university sent her a letter that said the state hadn’t paid and was in danger of having her dorm room re-keyed.

“I had two financial holds on my account for housing,” she said. “I freaked out. I cried on my birthday when I got this email.”

Salazar now owes $3,000 and according to UCF, at least a half dozen other students are in the same situations, waiting on the state.

For now, the university has deferred action until mid-February, to give the state time to pay its bill.

University officials said no students will be evicted and directed WFTV’s Chris Heath’s questions to the state Department of Education, which oversees the vocational rehabilitation program.

Representatives with the program said sometimes the paperwork between the school and the state takes time.

They also said that after WFTV started to ask questions, they opened the files of the students at UCF and discovered several that still haven’t received their scholarship money.

They said they are now working on the problem