Florida State College at Jacksonville Pioneers Free Community College
This fall, students in Florida’s Nassau and Duval counties will benefit from a free community college program for all eligible high school graduates in their community. Under this unique new College Promise program, Florida State College at Jacksonville will cover tuition, fees, and books for students who have graduated high school within the past three years. The new FSCJ Promise closes the gap that traditional financial aid does not cover, enabling these hard-working students to take advantage of a free two-year community college education without assuming burdensome college debt.
The State of Florida serves more than 800,000 community college students, the third highest community college student enrollment in the nation. More than 190 College Promise programs have been launched in 40 states. One prominent example is the Tennessee Promise, which offers all high school graduates two years of tuition for community or technical college funded by state lottery dollars that were put into an irrevocable trust for students.
“A high school education is insufficient for success in the 21st century. The College Promise Campaign applauds leaders in Jacksonville for recognizing the necessity of at least a two-year college degree for students to prosper in the global economy and the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Martha Kanter, the Campaign’s Executive Director. “College Promise programs are emerging across the country, in cities like El Dorado, AR, rural areas like Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren Counties, NC and Siskiyous, CA, and in states including TN, OR, MN and KY. FSCJ’s new ‘promise’ offers a powerful pathway to higher education and the workforce as a key economic, social and civic investment in the future of the Sunshine State.”
Today, FSCJ President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (R) Florida College System Chancellor Madeline Pumariega, Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, and Nassau County School District Superintendent Dr. Kathy Burns celebrate the launch of the FSCJ Promise with the College Promise Campaign’s Director of Engagement and Advocacy Matt Caffrey.
This broad-based, local support from K-12 education leaders, Mayor Curry, and Chancellor Pumariega is a testament to the potential of free community college to create pathways to good jobs for students, thereby closing the skills gap for local employers to increase Jacksonville’s prosperity in the U.S. and globally.