ORLANDO, Fla. — Valencia College and Seminole State College have received a combined $24,000 from the Consulate of Mexico that will provide scholarships for students of Mexican heritage.
The donation, which will be matched by the colleges’ foundations, was presented during a ceremony at the Mexican Consulate in Orlando on Friday, Nov. 20.
With the match, the award will create $38,000 in scholarships for students of Mexican heritage attending Valencia. The Mexican Consulate has contributed $19,000 toward those scholarship, plus matching funds of $19,000 from the Valencia Foundation.
At Seminole State College, the consulate donated $5,000, with the college matching that with another $5,000.
“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 32.5 percent Hispanic, and it is wonderful that scholarship funding is available to these emerging leaders in our local community.”
The colleges were chosen, in part, because of the number of Mexican-Americans they serve, the consulate said.
Valencia and Seminole State rank among the top colleges in the nation for associate degrees for Hispanic students, and, reflecting the growing diversity of Central Florida, have seen a large increase in Hispanic enrollment in the past decade.
Funding for the scholarships comes from the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a program 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.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Valencia and Seminole State have received IME BECAS awards.
Nearly 44,000 residents of Mexican descent live in Seminole and Orange counties, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.