Tina Stetson and Jamie Bateman with big check

Tina Stetson (left), director of financial aid, and Jamie Bateman, executive director of institutional advancement

AVON PARK, Fla. – Aug. 6, 2021 — South Florida State College (SFSC) joins the Florida Department of Education for a new college enrollment initiative to provide opportunities for students who graduated high school in 2020 and 2021 to enroll in the Florida College System (FCS). Now. Not Tomorrow helps educate families about the financial incentives that are available for students to pursue higher education.

The SFSC Foundation recently received a grant of $6,030 from the Helios Education Foundation that will be matched, bringing the funds to $12,060. Administered by the Florida Student Success Center, the grant provides incentive for students to enroll in associate degree programs in fall 2021 that prepare them to transfer to a four-year institution or entry into employment.

“Many of our local residents have been negatively impacted due to the public health crisis caused by COVID-19,” said Jamie Bateman, executive director, SFSC institutional advancement, who oversees the SFSC Foundation. “SFSC has identified a need with our local students whose lives were disrupted when either they or their family members lost jobs dues to the crisis. Families were negatively impacted financially. Those effects are felt to this day.”

Each recipient will be awarded between $500-$1,000 for fall scholarships. To apply for a scholarship, students must be first time in college, enrolled at SFSC at minimum on a part-time basis, and have graduated from high school in 2020 or 2021. They must submit a standard financial aid application to the SFSC Financial Aid Office along with the scholarship application. Preference will be given to students who live in DeSoto, Hardee, or Highlands County. Students are encouraged to visit AwardSpring to complete an application and apply for and find over 100 scholarships available to assist them.

Commenting on Helios’ generosity, Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said, “This generous grant, funded by Helios Education Foundation, will open the door to higher education to students who may think that their dream is out of reach or only for those more financially fortunate—students like me when I was college age. My attendance at my local colleges is truly what set me on the path to success.”

At SFSC, students can enroll in an in-demand and high-quality associate degree program, such as Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Network Systems Technology, Business Administration, and Engineering Technology.

In assessing the potential impact of the scholarship, FCS Chancellor Kathy Hebda said, “This scholarship helps students start right now in AA and AS degree-seeking pathways that are uniquely available in our Florida College System. Florida’s 2+2 system of matriculation from a state college to a state university is still the envy of the nation. We are excited to partner with Helios Education Foundation to help high school seniors realize that their path to success is close to home. I encourage our seniors and graduates from the Class of 2020 who have not yet started college to contact their local college’s financial aid office and take that first step today.”

Higher education helps jumpstart your purpose into a profession, and you can accomplish that through SFSC with less debt and guaranteed transfer access. The time for students to trailblaze their own path is Now. Not Tomorrow.