WASHINGTON – U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy today announced that Seminole State College, which has four campuses in Murphy’s district, will receive nearly $110,000 in federal funding as a result of an initiative Murphy led to support K-12 schools and colleges that enrolled students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Earlier this year, Murphy announced that as a result of this initiative, K-12 schools in Florida received $95.8 million, with Orange County Public Schools receiving over $12 million and Seminole County Public Schools receiving nearly $1.7 million. Among the colleges and universities in Murphy’s district, the University of Central Florida has already received almost $2 million, Seminole State has now received nearly $110,000, and Valencia College’s application is pending with the U.S. Department of Education.
“K-12 schools and colleges in central Florida, like Seminole State and UCF, welcomed displaced students from Puerto Rico and other disaster-stricken areas, and I’m proud we’ve been able to secure funding so they have the resources to educate both new and existing students,” said Murphy. “I worked hard to secure this critical funding because I know investments in education create jobs, improve our overall quality of life, and make our community stronger for all.”
“Being able to help students continue their education when faced with life changing situations is a true honor for Seminole State College,” said Seminole State President Dr. Georgia Lorenz. “We are truly grateful for Congresswoman Murphy’s leadership in securing funding for Seminole State and the other Central Florida educational institutions to help the displaced students from Puerto Rico.”
“Hurricane Maria hit my home and during the storm I understood what true fear felt like. The fear of not knowing if my family and I were going to be okay. There was no power, no water, no cars on the street, and nothing was working,” said Sofia Acosta, a displaced student from Puerto Rico who enrolled at Seminole State and spoke at the December 12 graduation ceremony. “Weeks went by until we got our first sliver of communication to the outside of the Island. Through a battery-operated transistor radio, my mother and my father heard that Seminole State was honoring state residence fees to all displaced students. With the help of my aunts and uncle living in the states, airline tickets were purchased. And on October 10, I left Puerto Rico for the first time in my life, leaving my immediate family behind to continue my education. I am grateful that Seminole State helped me overcome a difficult time in my life.”
Murphy spearheaded the effort to support students and schools over the course of nearly a year, working across party lines with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), her colleagues in the U.S. House and Senate, the U.S. Department of Education, and the State of Florida. In February 2018, Congress approved the Bipartisan Budget Act, which converted Murphy’s initiative into law.