Graduating high school students in Osceola County to receive college scholarships, commission announces

Through Osceola Prosper, every graduating student qualifies to enroll at Valencia College or Osceola Tech for free

During Osceola County’s State of the County address, several recognitions were awarded to businesses that have contributed to the county’s growth, but the highlight of the event was that, for a second year in a row, all graduating high school students of the 2023 class will receive a scholarship to attend Valencia College or Osceola Tech at no cost.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – During Osceola County’s State of the County address, several recognitions were awarded to businesses that have contributed to the area’s growth, but the highlight of the event was that for a second year in a row, all graduating high school students of the 2023 class will receive a scholarship to attend Valencia College or Osceola Tech at no cost.

“This burden was immediately lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t have to stress how I was going to financially provide for my education,” Arelise Vasquez, one of the first recipients of the 2022 Osceola Prosper Scholarship said. “Fun fact is that I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Valencia. It wasn’t so fun you know? I didn’t get into my dream school, but all along Valencia was my dream school, and this first semester has been absolutely amazing.”

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Prior to the announcement, high school students across the county received the news from Osceola County Board of Commissioners that the 2023 graduation class will have that opportunity, too.

“To me that’s a huge importance. One because our post-secondary education rates dropped off dramatically during COVID. We went from being about 16th in the state on post-secondary education all the way back down to about 63rd,” Commissioner Brandon Arrington said.

Through Osceola Prosper, every 2023 graduating student qualifies to enroll at Valencia College or Osceola Tech for free, no matter what their GPA is.

“What this tells us is that they recognize that education post high school changes, not only individuals lives, but it changes communities, and it changes our local economy,” Isis Artze-Vega, Vice President for academic affairs at Valencia College said. “We are expecting similar group to last year, more than 2,000 are with us, and so we’re ready for 2,000 more.”

Commissioner Arrington told News 6 that he hopes the scholarships will place the them back into the top 20 state counties when it comes to education.

“Osceola County is gonna allocate $8.3 million for the class of 2023 to be able to obtain their AAs or technical training, and one of the keys factors of that is that your able to obtain your AA over a 5-year period,” Arrington said. “That’s only one, to help the child, but also to help our local economy. If we have a better skilled trained workforce in other areas, we can attract higher paying jobs, the jobs of the 21st century.”

During Osceola County’s State of the County address, Commissioner Arrington highlighted some of the county’s achievements in 2022.

“You’re gonna hear a lot more things today that we’ve done over the last year that we’re certainly bold, innovative and genuine,” the commissioner said.

Among those big were goals the $50.8 million Build Back Better Regional grant awarded for Neocity’s development, $2 billion in new constructions, and $2.5 billion for road work across the county.

The county also announced recovery dollars will go toward the first boys and girls club in Osceola County.


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About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.