Free college program for Osceola County students leads to uptick in applications

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Hundreds of students in Osceola County are taking advantage of Osceola Prosper, a new program that’s covering their college tuition.

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Thanks to money set aside from the American Rescue Plan, all Osceola High School graduates in 2022 get a free ride for a two-year degree for either Valencia College or Osceola Technical College.

READ: New program allows Osceola County class of 2022 to attend Valencia, Osceola Technical colleges free

Valencia College said its enrollment rate has faced a steep decline of 20% since 2020. Osceola Prosper said it’s expected to put hundreds more students in classrooms this fall, while giving many an opportunity they would’ve otherwise written off due to finances.

The college also said it has already received applications for more than 800 students since Osceola Prosper was announced in March, making the new total of Osceola County seniors applying to Valencia College more than 1,400.

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Osceola Tech has not responded to requests for enrollment numbers.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.