Florida Governor Asks State Colleges to Welcome Puerto Rican Students

Oct 6, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Governor Rick Scott asked public colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition.  

South Florida schools including Palm Beach State, Broward College, and Miami-Dade College opened their doors.  

In an article in the Sun-Sentinel, Marielena DeSanctis, vice president of student affairs at Broward College said, “I may not be able to solve their housing crisis or their food crisis. I can’t bring back the pictures they’ve lost. But hopefully I can give them something they’ll keep forever and that’s their education.”  

Florida Atlantic University will waive out-of-state tuition for current students who permanently reside in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas University will offer free room and board to 100 students in Puerto Rico and the affected islands.  

Florida International University will also waive out-of-state tuition fees for current students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  

At Florida State University, the College of Law will take between ten and twelve students affected by the storm, and is waiving tuition and fees for students who already paid in Puerto Rico.  

The University of South Florida plans to send 12 USF physicians to Puerto Rico to assist with medical treatment.  

Pending approval, the university will also welcome over 200 Ponce Health Sciences University students to finish their studies in Tampa.  

In an article on WTSP.com, USF System President Judy Genshaft said, “We’re proud that our outstanding Morsani College of Medicine was contacted and we are pleased that we can be of assistance to our neighbors in Puerto Rico.        

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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