The dream of pursuing a college education will continue for 140 University of South Florida students, who will be awarded financial assistance this week through the USF Latino Scholarship Program. The group of students will receive more than $278,000 in scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year, made possible through generous gifts to the USF Foundation.
Each of this year’s recipients come from high schools or community colleges in the Tampa Bay region. Nearly all of them are the first in their families to attend college, and many are the first to graduate from high school. In addition to financial assistance, the program offers each student support, outreach and mentorship to help them succeed.
Since 1992, the USF Latino Scholarship Program has provided $3.5 million in funding to students, and has produced 525 graduates who have moved on to successful careers. The most recent class of Latino Scholars graduated at a rate of 97 percent, according to organizers of the program.
“We are proud to partner with so many generous members of the Tampa Bay community to support these deserving students,” said USF President Steve Currall. “The financial contributions from our supportive community are critical to helping them realize their dreams. We also know that the mentoring and encouragement the students receive through this outstanding program are vital to their success.”
One of this year’s recipients is Mike Rosario who graduated from Sickles High School with a 4.0 GPA and in the top 10 percent of his class. He is the first member of his family, who comes from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, to attend college.
“This scholarship has been a tremendous blessing, one that will allow me to pursue my studies and conduct research,” said Rosario, who plans to major in biomedical engineering and aspires to become a physician. “I represent many people coming to this country for a better life and working hard to achieve the American dream. I am excited about the future and the ability to help others.
In 2017, The Education Trust named USF the top public university in the nation for Latino student success. In 2018, Third Way named USF as the nation’s ninth best public university for lower-income (Pell Grant) student success.
This year’s Latino Scholarship Program recipients will be honored during a ceremony at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15 at the USF School of Music Concert Hall. President Currall along with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor are among those scheduled to speak at the event.