Florida Proposes Free Tuition for Children of Former Welfare RecipientsFebruary 4, 1999 |
Florida Proposes Free Tuition for Children of Former Welfare Recipients
TAMPA, Fla. — Children of former welfare recipients may be eligible for prepaid college tuition, as long as their parents don’t go back on welfare.
A new Florida project — the first of its kind in the country — has set aside $2.5 million this year to buy about 714 prepaid college scholarships for the children of participants in the state’s welfare-to-work program known as WAGES.
The two- and four-year scholarships will pay for tuition, but not housing, at Florida’s public universities, colleges, and community colleges. The money for the program was available from money saved due to the decline in welfare caseloads after the state put time limits on how long a person can stay in the system. Since 1996, more than 140,000 welfare recipients in Florida have returned to work.
“The cool thing is we’re really looking to the next generation, whose parents will be out of the system,” says Mary Hoppe, a spokeswoman for the state WAGES board, which oversees 24 local coalitions that implement welfare reform at the community level.
Students between the seventh and 11th grades are eligible for the program, with the first recipients starting college in 2001. Children must maintain a C-plus grade point average and stay away from drugs and trouble with the law. Most importantly, their parents must stay off welfare.
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