On Dec. 7, 2022, Osceola County officials announced plans to expand the current Osceola Prosper program — the promise of free college or technical training — to all of the county’s 2023 high school graduates. Osceola Prosper guarantees the county’s graduates funding to earn a two-year associate degree or technical training from Valencia College or Osceola Technical College.
“We continue our Commission’s commitment to our residents and we’re changing lives with this investment of more than $8 million,” said County Commissioner Brandon Arrington. “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. 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.”
Osceola Prosper 2023 is similar to the program made available to 2022 graduates. Currently, more than 2,000 graduates from the class of 2022 are enrolled at Valencia College or oTech.
“I want to thank the Osceola County commissioners for their extraordinary vision and investment in the future by making Osceola Prosper available to the class of 2023,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia College. “We know that postsecondary education – whether it’s an industry certification or a college degree – makes a huge difference in the earning potential of high school graduates. Osceola Prosper will make for a brighter future, not just for students and their families, but also for the county’s economic prosperity.”
The idea of Osceola Prosper started after the COVID 19 pandemic wreaked havoc with the local economy. Many residents were devastated by the economic fallout as the unemployment rate hovered at around 30 percent – among the highest in the state – and others faced reduced work hours and incomes.
The Osceola Prosper program is open to every graduating senior, including home-schooled students and those who attend private and charter schools. Students can attend two years of college for free – at either Valencia College or Osceola Technical College – and those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree can then transfer those credits to a four-year college or university.
For more information go to osceolaprosper.com