$40K in Scholarships Will Help Mexican-American Students Realize Their Dreams

A donation from the Consulate of Mexico will help create $40,000 in scholarships for Mexican-American and international students from Mexico attending Seminole State College of Florida, Valencia College and Daytona State College.

A total of $20,000, which will be matched by the institutions’ foundations, was awarded to the colleges during a ceremony at the Orlando Mexican consulate on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Seminole State will receive $8,000, and Valencia and Daytona State will each receive $6,000.

“We appreciate this donation from the Mexican Consulate, which will provide crucial scholarship support for students of Mexican descent at Seminole State,” said John Gyllin, executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the consulate and cultivating other partners that will assist our growing Hispanic population at Seminole State.

“We are so grateful to our community partners like the Mexican Consulate. Through their good work, we are able to offer scholarships and student support for those in need,” said Michelle Matis, vice president and chief operating office for Valencia Foundation. “Valencia’s student population is 30.5 percent Hispanic, and it is wonderful that scholarship funding is available to these emerging leaders in our local community.”

The funding is part of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a fundraising program that was created by the Mexican government in 2005 to support the development and well-being of Mexican migrant students living in the United States. The program receives about $1 million from the Mexican government. Additional support is received through donations from companies, local governments and individuals.

The colleges were chosen, in part, because of the number of Mexican-Americans they serve and the programs they offer, including English language studies. The scholarships can be used to pay for tuition and fees, educational supplies and textbooks.

Valencia and Seminole State both rank among the top colleges in the nation for associate degrees for Hispanic students. Reflecting the growing diversity of Central Florida, both colleges have seen a large increase in Latino enrollment. Between 2007 and 2012, Latino enrollment increased 59 percent at Seminole State and 56 percent at Valencia.

This is the first year that Seminole State and Valencia have received these scholarships. All three Florida College System institutions are among the 20 largest producers of Associate in Arts (A.A.) degrees in the nation.

More than 61,000 residents of Mexican descent live in Seminole, Orange, Volusia and Osceola counties, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.