Osceola County’s groundbreaking initiative, Osceola Prosper, continues to redefine the educational landscape in Osceola County. The program, which went into to effect last year for 2021 Osceola County graduates, has already begun to revolutionize the way students approach post-secondary education in Osceola County with 2500 students participating in the first year, 133 students obtaining associate degrees, and 108 students acquiring certifications. That means about 10% of “Osceola Prosper students” have already received some type of credential.

In December of 2022, Osceola County officials announced plans to expand the Osceola Prosper program for another year, offering the funding to 2022 Osceola County graduates.

Brandon Arrington

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.”

Initially, the funding for the $12 million cost in 2022 was covered by funds from the American Rescue Plan. However, for this iteration, the county had approximately $2 million remaining from that source and contributed an additional $5 million to ensure the program’s continuity for another group of students.

Valencia College’s 2023 Fall Semester began on Monday with 2300 students taking advantage of a complimentary two-year education at either Valencia or Osceola Technical College.s.

Valencia College President Dr. Plinske shared during the Osceola County Commissioner’s meeting on August 21st the effect Osceola Prosper has had on the rate of high school graduates going on to further their educations. “It will be a year or two before we know exactly where Osceola County ranks in the state in terms of our college-going rate, but it would not surprise me if we are among the top three in the state, if not at the top.”

The Osceola Prosper initiative is built on a simple yet profound idea: to provide students with access to quality higher education without the burden of out-of-pocket tuition costs. The benefits of the Osceola Prosper initiative’s expansion are far-reaching and multi-dimensional. By eliminating the financial barrier to higher education, the program empowers students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their dreams without the burden of student debt. This not only opens doors to better career opportunities for individual students but also contributes to the overall socio-economic development of the region.

This initiative aligns with broader societal goals such as workforce development, reducing income inequality, and fostering a skilled and educated workforce. By making education accessible to all, regardless of financial circumstances, Osceola County is setting an inspiring example for other communities to follow.

Ricky Booth“As we talk about all these kids going to college, Valencia and the school district, where you can go to O-Tech aty no-cost as well,  all these kids are just going for AAs, we’ve got a ton of technical options and trade options for these kids,” District 5 Osceola County Commissioner shared during the board meeting. “Not only are we helping kids get their college degree, but we’re also helping kids get a trade, and that also is provided in the Osceola Prosper program.”

ALL 2023 graduates from high schools in Osceola County, including public schools, charter schools, private schools and all homeschool grads who enroll at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College (oTech) are eligible.

Through Osceola Prosper, you can go to Valencia College to earn an Associate in Arts (A.A.) or Associate in Science (A.S.) degree or complete one Valencia College Accelerated Skills Training or Technical Certificate program. You may also choose to enroll in a program at Osceola Technical College (oTECH).

With this amazing gift, your tuition and fees will be paid until you graduate—as long as you enroll part-time or full-time by Spring 2024.

For more information visit OsceolaProsper.com or FAQs about Osceola Prosper.

In the coming years, the true impact of this initiative will unfold as students who have benefited from the program graduate with newfound skills, knowledge, and opportunities. Their success stories will become a testament to the power of accessible education, inspiring generations to come.