Valencia Partners with Mexican Consulate to Award Scholarships

ORLANDO — The Mexican Consulate in Orlando has awarded Valencia College $25,000 in scholarships to benefit Mexican-American students. Thanks to matching dollars from the Valencia Foundation, Valencia students of Mexican or Mexican-American heritage are eligible for $50,000 in scholarships.

A total of $25,000 was awarded by the consulate to Valencia College, while Daytona State College received $21,000 in scholarships and Seminole State College received $6,000.  Each award will be matched by the recipients’ foundations to provide $102,000 in scholarships.

“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the Mexican Consulate to provide scholarship support to students of Mexican descent,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola and Lake Nona campuses. “One of our strategies to increase the number of students who pursue a higher education in our community is to reduce the financial barriers they face, and this scholarship program will help several of our students to realize their dreams at Valencia College.”

The three state colleges were chosen to receive scholarship money because of the number of Mexican-Americans they serve.

Valencia ranks among the top colleges in the nation for associate degrees for Hispanic students. Because of the growing diversity of Central Florida, the college has experienced a large increase in Hispanic enrollment.  At Valencia College, Hispanics make up the largest minority community, with 31 percent of students classifying themselves as Hispanic.

The scholarship funding is part of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a fundraising 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 third year that Valencia has received these funds.

To be eligible, students must identify as first-generation Mexican immigrants or as Mexican-American (a parent is from Mexico) and be enrolled in credit classes. Students do not have to be U.S. citizens and do not have to complete the FAFSA to receive the scholarship award, which likely will be between $2,000-$3,000.

Information on how students can apply for the scholarships can be found at or by contacting Elvin Cruz-Vargas at or 407-582-3154.