IRSC – Delivering on the Promise to Attract Graduates of Treasure Coast High School to Tuition-Free Associate Degrees – WQCS | Team Cansler

IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore

Sebastian – Wednesday, November 16, 2022: At a special meeting Wednesday morning for 12th graders at Sebastian River High School, Indian River State College (IRSC) announced the continuation and expansion of the IRSC Promise Program, a significant investment in removing barriers to higher education.

Promise 2023 offers tuition-free associate degrees to qualifying 2023 graduates from public high schools as well as public charter high schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties. And next year, the 2023 IRSC Promise Program will expand to graduate homeschool students in the district who qualify for a tuition-free associate degree.

“Thanks to the generosity and support of our IRSC Foundation, we will build on the success of our inaugural year of the Promise program and open the door a little wider for the next IRSC Promise cohort,” said IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “Promise 2023 goes beyond public and public charter school graduates by offering eligible homeschool graduates in our service district the opportunity to earn an AA, AS or AAS degree from IRSC at no fee.”

To take advantage of the program, eligible high school seniors must commit to the IRSC by making the Promise Pledge by March 10, 2023. This promise is available at: Promise.irsc.edu.

The IRSC Promise Program was launched in March 2022 for graduates of public and public colleges in the district. While college enrollments continue to decline nationwide, the IRSC Promise Program has resulted in a dramatic increase in local enrollments. With more than 3,200 students, the IRSC Fall 2022 freshman cohort is the largest in the college’s history. More than 1 in 3 local high school graduates have enrolled at IRSC through the Promise program.

After just one year, the IRSC Promise Program is already fulfilling its commitment to make college education widely accessible.

“The impact (of Promise) on underrepresented groups such as minorities, first-generation and low-income groups is overwhelming,” said Michael Hageloh, IRSC Executive Vice President for Strategic Initiatives. “The Promise program is the ultimate investment in our community and our workforce – from technicians to nurses.”

Freshman data shows the wide reach of the program:

• Minority students make up 80% of the Promise 2022 cohort
• Enrollment for Hispanic freshman students has doubled since last fall
• First-generation students make up the majority of university entrants
• Pell grant eligibility is the highest in years, increasing 48% year-on-year
• The gap between female and male first-year students is narrowing

The IRSC Promise program is not a grant or scholarship. It is a fee-based program sponsored by the IRSC Foundation and funded by generous donor philanthropy and unrestricted investment proceeds.

IRSC Promise students are not required to demonstrate financial need, and there is no GPA requirement for acceptance into the program. Once in the program, students are required to maintain full-time enrollment status and make satisfactory academic progress during the fall, spring, and summer semesters if pursuing an associate in arts, associate in science, or applied associate in science degree.

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IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore speaks during a special assembly for Year 12 students at Sebastian River High School on Wednesday.

Questions and Answers on the 2023 IRSC Pledge Program

What is the IRSC Promise program?

The IRSC Promise program offers tuition-free associate degrees for students graduating in 2023 from public and public charter high schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties and for eligible 2023 graduates from homeschools in the district.

How to get into the program

To take advantage of the program, eligible high school seniors must make a commitment to the IRSC by accepting the Promise Pledge, available at Promise.irsc.edu. The deadline for submission is March 10, 2023.

Is there a catch?

There is no catch. Any public or public charter high school graduate in the IRSC service district or eligible 2023 homeschool graduate in the district who qualifies for Florida residency and wishes to enroll in an IRSC associate degree program as a full-time student may participate.

What is an Eligible Homeschool Graduate?

In the district 2023 Homeschool students must provide an IRSC Homeschool Affidavit Form + School District Letter certifying the establishment or termination of their homeschooling program. Students homeschooled by a private school are considered private students, not homeschoolers, and are not eligible for the IRSC Promise Program.

Do students need to prove financial need or be first generation students to qualify?

No, the Promise is not based on need, however, Promise students are required to complete a free Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application each academic year.

Is a minimum high school diploma required? The Promise program requires you to graduate from a public or public charter high school in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, or St. Lucie County in 2023 or be an eligible homeschool graduate in the district. Students must achieve the minimum grade of 2.0 required for high school graduation. Once at IRSC, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to receive Promise funding.

Does the promise apply to vocational training certificates (without a degree)? You must be enrolled full-time in an associate degree program to participate in the IRSC Promise Program. Several IRSC programs allow you to earn industry certifications on your way to your degree. This includes AS and AAS programs in trades such as air conditioning, refrigeration and heating technology; automotive service management technology; construction engineering; criminal justice technology; and fire science technology. View IRSC Associate in Science/Associate in Applied Science programs at https://irsc.edu/programs/associate-in-science-graduate-programs.html.

Is the Pledge available to private students? Not yet. We will continue to evaluate the program to inform future expansion plans. We encourage private school graduates to complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) and apply for grants from the IRSC Foundation for funding assistance.

Are dual enrollment students eligible for the pledge? Yes. Any student who is a 2023 graduate of a district public or public charter high school or an eligible 2023 graduate of a district homeschool may commit to the IRSC Promise program regardless of incoming credit.

Is the Pledge available to GED® students? GED® students are not yet eligible for the IRSC Promise program. We will continue to evaluate the program for the next year to make expansion plans. We encourage GED® students to complete the Free Student Aid Application (FAFSA) and apply for grants from the IRSC Foundation for funding assistance.

Are Florida Virtual School graduates eligible for the Promise? no Only graduates of public and public charter high schools in Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties or eligible graduates of homeschools in the district are eligible. We encourage Florida Virtual School graduates to complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) and apply for grants from the IRSC Foundation for funding assistance.

Are DACA students eligible for the pledge? Yes. If the state of Florida considers you a student, the IRSC considers you a student. DACA students who qualify for Florida residency may commit to the pledge. We will work with each student individually to confirm eligibility.

What if a 2023 high school senior completed an AA concurrent with high school and wants to pursue an AS at the IRSC? This student would qualify for the Promise program to pursue an AS degree.

Can I still use the Promise if I already have Florida Prepaid? The IRSC Promise Program allows families with 529 plans like Florida Prepaid to expand their investments even further. Those pursuing a bachelor’s degree after completing a tuition-free IRSC associate degree can use prepaid credit toward that next educational milestone. Unused Florida Prepaid Funds can also be refunded to you; Visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com for details.

Am I still eligible for the Promise if I already have Bright Futures or scholarships? The pledge applies to all tuition fees after applying for Bright Futures funds or scholarships.

If I receive financial support, does the IRSC promise still apply to me? The Promise program is last-dollar funding, meaning it covers all tuition costs after applying for financial aid and scholarships.

Does the Promise program cover my tuition if I don’t qualify for financial aid or scholarships?Yes, the Promise program covers the cost of tuition that does not qualify for financial aid or scholarships.

How is the IRSC Promise Program funded?The IRSC Pledge is a fee-based program sponsored by the IRSC Foundation and funded through generous donor philanthropy and unrestricted investment proceeds. The IRSC Promise Program has no cash value. The college looks forward to working with other private organizations to expand the program and meet the needs of even more students.

Are there any other costs besides tuition for the Promise program?The Promise program includes tuition only. There are additional costs that students should plan for, including books, materials, transportation, rent and food. Examples of fees that you may be responsible for include distance learning fees, laboratory fees, and other special fees. For more information on Indian River State College fees, see the College Catalog.

What if I’m not eligible for the Promise program?Students who are ineligible for the Promise program should complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) and apply for grants from the IRSC Foundation for funding assistance.

How do I learn more about the IRSC Promise Program?Students and parents can speak to their High Guidance Counselors or visit Promise.irsc.edu to view a schedule of upcoming Promise program informational events, learn more about the program, and adopt the Promise Pledge.

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