OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola County’s class of 2022 is getting a free ride to higher education.
The county announced Monday that all 2022 seniors will get to attend Valencia College or Osceola Technical College completely free as part of Osceola Prosper.
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The money has been set aside from what Osceola County received through the American Rescue Plan.
This means all high school students who graduate in May — whether they’re public, charter or home school graduates — can attend one of the schools for a full ride with a two-year degree.
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Osceola County Commissioner Brandon Arrington called it “a major investment in education and a major investment in economic development.”
There are no income requirements and no need to apply to anything separately, other than the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Students will have to take at least 12 credit hours a year and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. If their GPA drops below 2.0 for four consecutive semesters, students will no longer be eligible.
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It’s a gamechanger for people like Liberty High School senior Yandell Frez.
“I wasn’t trying to go to college at all — with the money and stuff like that, it’s too much and I don’t want to put that on my mom and on myself,” he said.
But now, Frez is planning to go to Osceola Technical College to become a mechanic.
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“I told my stepdad and he was actually really excited for me. We’ve had many talks and he said college should definitely be one of my options and I should be open to it.”
The county is also providing a $500 stipend to support related expenses for students who show financial need.
Right now, the program is only for this year’s graduating class. The county said it is going to look into how much of the money is used in this round, and see how they can continue to help students in the future as well.
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