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Mexican Consulate awards $8,000 for scholarships

Mati San-Andres, professor of English Language Studies at Seminole State College (right), shows her appreciation to the Consulate of Mexico in Orlando during a ceremony at the consulate on Oct. 9. (Photo by Don Burlinson/Valencia College)

A donation from the Consulate of Mexico will help create $16,000 in scholarships for Mexican-American and international students from Mexico attending Seminole State College of Florida.

The donation was presented to Seminole State during a ceremony at the Mexican Consulate in Orlando on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Seminole State will receive $8,000, which will be matched by the Foundation for Seminole State College.

“We appreciate this donation from the Mexican Consulate, which will provide crucial scholarship support for students of Mexican descent at Seminole State,” said John Gyllin, executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the consulate and cultivating other partners that will assist our growing Hispanic population at Seminole State.”

Seminole State was chosen, in part, because of the number of Mexican-Americans it serves, the consulate said. The College offers nearly 200 programs, including GED; English Language Studies; a language institute for international students; vocational certificates; as well as two- and four-year degrees and credit certificates. The scholarships can be used to pay for tuition and fees, educational supplies and textbooks.

Seminole State ranks among the top colleges in the nation for associate degrees for Latino students, and, reflecting the growing diversity of Central Florida, has seen a large increase in Latino enrollment. Between Spring 2007 and Spring 2012, Latino enrollment increased 59 percent to 4,917.

Forty-six percent of its students are minority, and Seminole State is projected to have a majority-minority student population within a few years.

The funding is part of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) “BECAS for a Better Life,” a fundraising program that was created by the Mexican government in 2005 to support the development and well-being of Mexican migrant students living in the United States. The program receives about $1 million from the Mexican government. Additional support is received through donations from companies, local governments and individuals.

This is the first year that Seminole State has received the BECAS scholarship.

The gift and match will create five $3,200 scholarships that will be available for Seminole State students starting in January. Students can apply by using the online STARS system. All U.S. citizens of Mexican descent and international students from Mexico are eligible. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.

A total of $25,000 in awards were presented by the Mexican Consulate on Oct. 9, including scholarships for Daytona State College and Valencia College students.

Nearly 44,000 residents of Mexican descent live in Seminole and Orange counties, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The Foundation for Seminole State is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to enhancing Seminole State College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit the Foundation website.

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