PANAMA CITY, FLA. (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College received a $200,000 donation from the City of Panama City on Thursday. The money will be used for scholarships for incoming GCSC students through the Gulf Coast Guarantee Program. The donation is through the American Rescue Plan, which granted Panama City $10.2 million.
The program will offer immediate scholarships to high school students to assist with tuition and fees. Each student will receive $700 each semester, and $2,800 over two years.
“This will let the students in the high schools and even younger know that there is money there for scholarships for them, if they will complete their high school education,” Bill Cramer Jr., the Gulf Coast Guarantee Scholarship Campaign Chairman said.
The goal of Gulf Coast State College and Panama City is to keep local students in the area.
“Reinvesting into the youth of the city of Panama City is paramount if we’re going to build the city for the future,” Mark McQueen, city manager of Panama City said. “And what better way to do that than with partnering with our own state college.”
Gulf Coast State College expects more students to enroll at the college, due to the extra funding, Cramer Jr. said.
“It is the first time that a municipality has contributed dollars to scholarships here at Gulf Coast, which will come right back to the community, in terms of opportunities for students who wouldn’t have that opportunity otherwise,” Cramer Jr. said.
Cramer Jr. expects that enrollment could increase as much as 30% in the first-year scholarships are offered, which would increase enrollment by about 150 students.
“It’s an investment in the community by our city. We’re going to be able to provide scholarships, guaranteed scholarships for every graduating student from a high school, or homeschool, charter school who attends Gulf Coast in the fall.”