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Program offering free college to Osceola County students expands

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Thousands more Osceola County students are going to college for free.

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Channel 9 first reported on the Osceola Prosper program when it launched last year. Students can take advantage of the free ride at Valencia College’s Osceola campus.

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At first, it was only a pilot program for a year, filling the need after Valencia College saw enrollment down and the need grew to fill jobs in the area.

Now, it’s helping nearly 5,000 in all follow their dreams of higher education.

In the first round of the county-led program, 2,500 students took advantage of it. It’s already helped 133 of those people earn associate degrees and 108 earn certifications.

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This week, another 2,300 are entering classes with a free two-year ride at either Valencia College or Osceola Technical College.

American Rescue Plan dollars originally footed the $12 million bill in 2022. This time around, the county only had about $2 million left and put in the other $5 million to make sure the program continued for another round of students.

READ: Osceola County school year begins with new Superintendent in place

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.