Education

Miami Dade College is giving displaced students from Puerto Rico a big tuition break

Eduardo Padrón, President of Miami-Dade College, during a conference at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus on Wednesday, August 30, 2017.
Eduardo Padrón, President of Miami-Dade College, during a conference at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. rkoltun@miamiherald.com

Miami Dade College on Wednesday morning offered in-state tuition to displaced college students from Puerto Rico following the devastating destruction to the island last week by Hurricane Maria.

The college will waive out of state fees, which are nearly four times in-state tuition, for these incoming students said Lenore Rodicio, Miami Dade College’s vice president and provost for Academic & Student Affairs.

Because Puerto Rico has commonwealth status, these students are also U.S. citizens so some may already have federal aid packages that provide for them to go to colleges at home on the island. Miami Dade College will help them transition here, too, and consider scholarships and flexible payment plans.

“We will work with them as necessary,” Rodicio said. As a state institution, Miami Dade was given a permit to waive the out of state fees for the Puerto Rican students as recommended by Gov. Rick Scott.

More: Free Florida college tuition Sunshine Scholarship Program — but what’s the catch?

Miami Dade’s mini term begins Monday, Oct. 2. These students could enroll for that term, which ends Dec. 22, Rodicio said. Options also include virtual online classes.

The crew of a US Customs and Border helicopter provided medical aid to three people who signaled for assistance by painting the word “help” on the roof of their home in Puerto Rico on September 24. The crew landed the Black Hawk helicopter on a mo

“We are expecting a larger influx come the spring as they start to get back into their regular routine,” Rodicio said. “Many are involved in personal recovery efforts at home and education might not be top of mind now. But as time goes by, if the universities [in Puerto Rico] are still impacted in January we imagine we’ll see a large influx.

“We’ve always been a community’s college and always had a huge focus on being able to support the local community,” Rodicio added. “In Miami, Puerto Rico is near and dear to our hearts and due to our geographical location it only makes sense to provide such outreach and much needed aid to these individuals who suffered such extensive damage.”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

How to get help

Miami Dade College asks that students from Puerto Rico who were displaced by Hurricane Maria call 305-237-8888. The institution is gathering contact information so that once the tuition offer is finalized officials can reach out to the students.

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