OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Every graduating senior in Osceola County this year can go to college for free. The program is called Osceola Prosper.
All graduating seniors can go to Valencia College or Osceola Technical College to get an associate's degree or technical education at no cost. Osceola County is using $12.4 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund it.
Dr. Kathleen Plinkse, the president of Valencia College, sees this as a tremendous investment in the county’s future. “We know that individuals that have some education after high school whether it's an associate’s degree, bachelor's degree, or an industry certification have significantly higher lifetime earnings and in turn then pay more in taxes,” Plinkse said.
Some students are overjoyed with the announcement of a free scholarship. Yindell Fret who will graduate Liberty High School in May said, “And honestly it’s a great opportunity for all the students in the county and for me especially. I intentionally wasn't trying to go to college at first and when I heard the news it made everything ten times better because it finally gives me the opportunity to go to college.”
For those with financial needs who signed up for Accelerated Skills Training or the OTECH program, Osceola County will give a onetime award of $500 to help with expenses. For those enrolled in a degree program, the county will offer a $500 stipend per semester for textbooks and other expenses.
To qualify, students must:
- Apply to Valencia or Osceola Technical College and register for at least one course, an Accelerated Skills Training program, or an Osceola Technical Program in Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Spring 2023.
- Complete the 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by July 15, 2022 (for fall enrollment), or by December 1, 2022 (for spring enrollment). Students not eligible to complete the FAFSA may self-certify they are not able to do so and still participate in Osceola Prosper.
For more details click here: https://osceolaprosper.com/