Puerto Rican transfer students begin new semester at UCF

By Bailey Myers, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 7:16 PM EST

A new Semester at the University of Central Florida brings with it a slew of new students — this time from Puerto Rico.

  • Puerto Rican transfer students start new semester at UCF
  • Hurricane pushed Puerto Rican students out of schools on island
  • 1,135 Puerto Rican students applied to UCF, 403 got in
  • RELATED: Hurricane Maria impact

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, it devastated the island, forcing the temporary shutdown of many of the island's universities.

Hurricane Maria is why the students who were pushed out of their homes and schools are at UCF searching for better opportunities.

"It was horrible ... I never in my life thought that could happen to Puerto Rico ... That was the moment I realized I have to go," said Puerto Rican Transfer student Nicole Morales.

When she found out UCF was enrolling Puerto Rican students with just their unofficial transcripts, Morales applied and was accepted.

While 1,135 Puerto Rican Students applied, only 403 actually got in.

Now many of those students are leaving those heavy books at home and turning to online courses for convenience purposes, because their housing situations are uncertain.

"I’m taking three courses online right now," Morales explained.

Living in Kissimmee with her father, while also working part time, Morales said the online courses make her life easier.

Right now, 81 percent of students at UCF are enrolled in at least one online or partially online class.

"I love it here. I don't think I'll go back to Puerto Rico," Morales said.

Now Morales plans on finishing her Bachelor’s degree and achieve her masters as an occupational therapist at UCF.

We were told students need their official transcripts from Puerto Rico in order to apply for any financial aid in which they qualify.

As of right now, Morales said she's still waiting for her old university to regain power long enough to send her transcripts.