Indian River State College renews Promise Program offering free tuition

Qualifying students get 2 years free tuition
Posted at 6:02 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 18:02:00-05

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is free college tuition available at a local state college.

As a realtor, Maria Blanco is highly attuned to numbers.

“We have the good days, bad days, good months and bad months,” she said.

So when her daughter Laura Alzate graduated high school this year, she knew some big numbers were ahead, and they needed help.

“What she has to do to get some scholarship, because we have more children,” said Blanco.

But Alzate had other ideas.

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Maria Blanco says she was concerned with how to pay for her daughter's education expenses.

“This is great, I can go to school and get my associate's and not have to worry about money,” said Alzate.

The Centennial High School grad had heard about the new Promise Program at Indian River State College.

Qualifying students from Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee high schools get two years free tuition, a $5,500 value.

At a rally Wednesday at Sebastian River High School, the college announced the program would be back for a second year, adding homeschool students to those who qualify.

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Students Anna Joseph and Abigaelle Batheleny think the Promise Program is a great opportunity to further their education.

“We want them to have a cost effective high quality education with all kinds of attributes close by,” said IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore.

The program, funded by the IRSC Foundation, has given Vero Beach high grads Anna Joseph and Abigaelle Batheleny the chance to further their education.

“You know what, I guess this is a calling or a sign to go to college,” said Joseph.

“It gives me a chance to apply for more scholarships when I do want to transfer,” said Batheleny.

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Student Laura Alzate is thrilled she can get her associate's degree and not have to worry about the expenses that come with it.

IRSC said it’s defying the national narrative of declining student enrollment as one in three Treasure Coast grads are signing up.

IRSC has 3,200 first year college students—that’s an all-time high for them. And out of that number, nearly 2,200 are here under the Promise Program.

Promise students do not have to demonstrate financial need. They do have to commit to full time enrollment status as they pursue their associate's degree close to home.

Interested high school students can commit to IRSC by March 10, 2023.