BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College officials are trying to make college possible for every senior graduating this year.
The college’s foundation is launching a new program, offering immediate scholarships to every senior in Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties.
The ‘Gulf Coast Guarantee’ is for students in these three counties, who enroll at Gulf Coast State College and maintain a 2.0 grade point average. They will be given $1,400 a year to attend school, or $700 a semester.
It’s designed to attract students that believe college is unattainable because of tuition costs..
“To know that our kids that may not otherwise see hope, now have hope,” said Gulf County Schools Superintendent, Jim Norton. “Every kid in Gulf, Bay, and Franklin county that graduates will have a chance to go to college, I mean that’s tremendous.”
Any 2021 public, private or homeschooled graduating senior is eligible.
There is no application process, all those students have to do is enroll for 12 credit hours a semester.
“Our students deserve this, they deserve an opportunity that maybe they haven’t had before. I’m looking forward to the changes and to see how many students they’ll have. It’s very exciting for this school district and for this region. We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it.” said Franklin County Schools Superintendent, Steve Lanier.
It is projected this will increase enrollment at the college by 30%, within the next five years.
Local Businessman, Bill Cramer has been a member of the college foundation for decades.
He’s chairing the ‘Gulf Coast Guarantee’ scholarship effort and kicked off the drive with a $100,000 donation.
“I think education is the best investment you can make in a community. It improves people’s lives, changes their lives, gives them opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Trains them for jobs that are needed in the community, helps attract businesses because we can do the training to meet their specific needs.” said Cramer.
“Employers who come to the area are trying to figure out where their trained workforce is going to come from. We’re going to be able to attract more industry and business to Gulf and Franklin counties as well because we’re going to have a workforce that is there,” said GCSC President, Dr. John Holdnak.
This opportunity will begin this Fall for students in Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties. The ‘Guarantee’ is in addition to any existing scholarships that students might have.