Broward College and Broward County Launch New Program to Help Students Overcome Financial Barriers to Higher Education

The Broward Bridge Scholarship Program advances post-secondary credential attainment

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (October 12, 2020) – Broward College and Broward County have created a partnership that will allow current and prospective students of the institution to receive additional financial support to pursue post-secondary studies. The Broward Bridge Scholarship Program received the Broward County Commission’s vote of approval on Tuesday, October 6.

“Our work at Broward College is critical to the economic growth of the county,” said Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile, J.D. “Our role is even more pertinent today as we work to position our local workforce for economic recovery after the pandemic. With half of our students being eligible for Federal Pell Grants, they face numerous barriers in the pursuit of higher education, and affordability remains a primary challenge for many of them. Thanks to this collaboration with the county, we can make a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and the future of Broward County.”

Gap funding programs create an opportunity that can unify communities in the pursuit of a common goal – the future success of its residents. In Broward County, only 43.9 percent of residents ages 25 to 64 have an associate degree or higher, and that number is significantly lower in some communities. This partnership contributes to Florida’s SAIL to 60 (Strengthening Alignment between Industry and Learning) post-secondary initiative, which aims to increase the percentage of the state’s working adults who have degrees, post-secondary certificates, or training experiences to 60 percent by 2030. 

"I am happy to see this proposal approved," said Commissioner Mark Bogen, who started work on the Broward Bridge Scholarship Program when he served as Mayor of Broward County in 2019. "As a Commission, our focus on the holistic development of our county must include education. When we started this proposal, the goal was to work with the College to ensure that students who face financial challenges get the help they need to complete their studies. The approval of this initiative will benefit the economic well-being of the county."

“Providing financial support for students who have worked so hard, but just don’t have the means to complete their education is a worthwhile effort that benefits everyone in our community,” said Broward Mayor Dale V.C. Holness. “This gap financial aid can mean the difference between someone receiving a degree or not being able to finish college. Our partnership with Broward College is invaluable and I’m very proud that Broward County is making a big difference in the future of students who need just a little extra help to go on to a bright and promising future.”

The Broward Bridge Scholarship Program will begin in November, in time to support enrollment for the College’s spring 2021 semester. In the 2018-2019 academic year, more than 1,800 eligible Broward County Public School students were identified as needing funds to help bridge the gap in tuition and fees. 

“Many students have been financially impacted by Covid-19, which makes this program more important than ever,” said Broward College Board Chair Gloria Fernandez. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we would like to thank the county for partnering with Broward College. A post-secondary degree or credential may not have been possible for many students until now, and we are excited to see how this positively impacts our community.”

The Broward Bridge Scholarship Program is available to legal Broward County residents who:

  1. Graduated from a Broward County Public High School with at least a 2.5 unweighted GPA;
  2. Are enrolled in nine credit hours (¾ time in the fall and spring terms) and pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree or a financial aid-eligible technical certificate;
  3. Have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  4. Are Pell Grant eligible or have demonstrated financial need based on FAFSA or an income lower than the sustainability budget for a household of two adults and two children as indicated by the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed Report (ALICE);
  5. Have a gap between tuition and fees and other, non-loan based financial aid.

For students to remain eligible, they must:

  1. Maintain both satisfactory academic progress and a 2.0 GPA at Broward College;
  2. Complete a FAFSA that results in financial need annually;
  3. Be enrolled in nine credit hours for the fall and spring terms.

While there are a handful of gap funding programs across the state, the Broward Bridge Scholarship Program is the first in Florida solely between a county and a higher education institution. It also complements the College’s expanded service model under Broward UP, which increases access to post-secondary education. To achieve this, Broward College has partnered with 25 municipal, governmental, and community or nonprofit partners to provide on-site educational programming and support. The co-location of services will reduce barriers to access and improve the lives of residents in zip codes with low education attainment and high unemployment rates. Broward UP has three primary goals: increase college access and attendance, improve degree and certificate attainment, and holistically raise economic mobility.

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COLLEGE:

Serving more than 63,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the college is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit www.broward.edu

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