Valencia Receives $15,000 Donation to Expand College Access in Osceola

Orlando – The Valencia College Foundation has received a $15,000 contribution from the AT&T Foundation to bolster the college’s efforts to encourage more Osceola County high school students to attend college.

With the funds, Valencia Foundation officials plan to offer a series of bilingual College Navigation Workshops at the college’s Osceola Campus, located in Kissimmee. At the workshops, Valencia faculty and staff members will offer high-school students one-on-one help with college applications, scholarship applications and essays, and financial aid applications.

“We’ve found that many students don’t apply for scholarships because they aren’t aware of them or because they aren’t confident about writing the essay that is usually required as part of a scholarship application,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia College’s Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana campuses. “We plan to help students overcome both challenges so that they and their families can better afford a college education.”

Thanks to the AT&T Foundation funds, Valencia will waive the $35 registration fee for the first 50 students at each Navigation Workshop – and a limited number of scholarships will be awarded as an incentive for those who attend.

“The College Navigation Workshop is designed to assist students in overcoming some of the challenges they face when trying to continue their education,” said Troy McNichols, Director, AT&T Florida. “Providing bilingual students with tools that will help them succeed will also motivate them to be successful in the classroom.”

The College Navigation Workshops will be an extension of the community’s “Got College?” initiative, launched as a collaborative partnership between Valencia College, the School District of Osceola County, and the Education Foundation of Osceola County to increase the college-going rate in Osceola County. As a result of these efforts, the percentage of Osceola County high school graduates who enroll in college has increased from 41 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2014.

The first series of College Navigation Workshops will be held in January 2017. The dates and locations are:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 18 – Lake Nona Campus – 7-9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 19 – Liberty High School – 7-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24 – Osceola Campus – 7-9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 26 – Poinciana High School – 7-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 – Osceola Campus – 9-11 a.m.

Dates and locations for additional sessions will be announced in 2017.

Although most of the workshops will be held in Osceola County, students and families from nearby Polk and Orange counties are welcome to attend.