In-State Tuition Offered To Puerto Rico’s Displaced Students

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College continues to provide support for students displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria and is again offering in-state tuition to those individuals.

Gov. Rick Scott asked Florida state colleges and universities this week to extend in-state tuition to those students through the 2018-2019 academic year. Scott’s initial call to action in September offered in-state tuition to those who enrolled through December.

Since then, Polk State has assisted more than 60 individuals who fled Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria and has enrolled a dozen as students.

“We hope to assist even more students by extending in-state tuition to those displaced by Hurricane Maria,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “The College will continue to welcome students from Puerto Rico with open arms and provide them with the assistance they need to return to their higher education pursuits as they continue to recover from the storm.”

Falconetti appointed Director of Student Enrollment Services and Registrar Kathy Bucklew as the point of contact for those students.

Bucklew has continued to work with them closely and confidentially to help them obtain necessary documentation and transcripts, as well as to identify which exemptions and waivers they may be eligible for to assist them financially.

Some students have publicly shared their stories, such as Josue Salgado, who was prepared to start classes at the University of Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria moved through his family’s town of Carolina.

“It could be years before Puerto Rico is back to normal,” Salgado said. “My original plan was to study for two years in Puerto Rico then come to the U.S., so this became an opportunity for me to jump start that process… and I feel very fortunate to have the ability to attend Polk State College.”

Prospective students should contact Bucklew by email at, phone at 863.298.6820, or in her office, WAD 116 in the Administration Building on the Winter Haven Campus at 999 Ave. H N.E.