- Graduating high school seniors in Osceola County are set to receive free tuition for a two-year or technical college
- Through the Osceola Prosper initiative, the county will cover tuition and fees at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College through a student’s graduation or program completion
- Every student who graduates from high school in Osceola County in 2023, including home-schooled students, is eligible to receive the tuition subsidy, with the county claiming that there are no other requirements to qualify for the program
- The program began last year, funded by the American Rescue Act, similarly offering free tuition to Valencia College and Osceola Technical College to graduating seniors
Osceola County Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington announced on Wednesday night that all graduating seniors in Osceola County will be entitled to free tuition for either a two-year associate’s degree or technical education.
The initiative, known as Osceola Prosper, covers tuition and fees at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College through a student’s graduation or program completion.
Every student who graduates from high school in Osceola County in 2023 is eligible to receive the tuition subsidy, with the county claiming that there are no other requirements to qualify for the program.
Further, all Osceola County high school graduates will be automatically admitted to Valencia College and Osceola County Technical School (OTECH).
The County explained that the program is open to home-schooled graduates as well.
“I’ve always felt a well-educated workforce can create better opportunities. We want to make sure people have opportunities to expand and grow their wealth right here in Osceola County,” said Arrington at the Osceola State of the County 2022 address on Wednesday and reported by the Osceola News-Gazette. “A lot of the kids I grew up with and went to college didn’t come back. That brain drain had a serious impact on our community. That’s what’s so significant about our investment. We’re giving every kid an opportunity that is really going to be impactful to their future.”
The program began last year, funded by the American Rescue Act, similarly offering free tuition to Valencia College and OTECH to graduating seniors.
Osceola County is set to receive an influx of funding following a federal award of nearly $51 million to further the development of the NeoCity technology park.
Arrington also touted the evolving NeoCITY technology park, which lies within county lines.
In September the tech park received $50.8 million in funding in order to accelerate the growth of the specialized semiconductor cluster at NeoCITY.
Additionally, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $6 million to Osceola County in January to expand the southern corridor of the county to connect with NeoCITY.
NeoCITY is a developing extension of the growing tech scene in central Florida and its surrounding areas, housing both domestic and international technology companies.
The research park intends to serve as a “catalyst for high-tech innovation and creation, including jobs and capital investment,” according to its website.
NeoCity is strategically located between two state universities, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, which boast top engineering programs. The schools would have opportunities to conduct research within NeoCity facilities, and could eventually serve as a job pipeline for the two schools.