MDC’s hurricane assistance effort for PR students gets major boost

Miami Dade College’s assistance program for displaced Puerto Rican students has grown significantly this spring semester, thanks to generous gifts totaling $400,000 from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has contributed $250,000 to support student tuition, living expenses and other costs associated with emergency relocation. The philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York donated an additional $150,000 for student support, both as part of larger disaster-relief efforts.

Together, the funding will provide more assistance for displaced Puerto Rican students to continue their studies at Miami Dade College while easing the burden on families in recovery. To date, the program has helped nearly 70 enrolled students and is expected to grow.

“Puerto Rican students are part of our South Florida community,” said Sam Gill, vice president of communities and impact at the Knight Foundation.

“Ensuring their educations do not get interrupted is one of the most effective ways we can help Puerto Rico’s long-term recovery,” Gill added.

“We’re very grateful for the generous support from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Carnegie Corporation,” said Mark Cole, vice president of advancement and executive director of Miami Dade College Foundation. “This kind of life-changing philanthropy ensures Puerto Rican students who walk through our doors have the opportunity to continue their education in spite of the disruption caused by Hurricane Maria.”

Soon after Hurricane Maria hit the island, Miami Dade College began offering displaced Puerto Rican students in-state tuition and $250 vouchers for every three credits enrolled. The college temporarily waived some documentation requirements.

In addition to offering financial assistance, each of MDC’s eight campuses have assigned an advisor to help guide Puerto Rican students through the enrollment process and offer counseling as needed.

For more information and to enroll, visit

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