SPC responding to students in Puerto Rico, Texas suffering after hurricanes


ST. PETERSBURG — Last week, Gov. Rick Scott asked Florida colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to students in Puerto Rico who are struggling through the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

St. Petersburg College (SPC) President Dr. Tonjua Williams decided that they could do even better than that.

Williams announced SPC would offer the lower tuition price to those affected in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Houston area, too. Additionally, the college also has pledged to waive the $40 application fee for these students.

“As Floridians, we know all too well the pain and anxiety that a destructive hurricane can cause. Our hearts are with all of the storm victims,” said Williams. “At SPC, we are solution-oriented in helping students continue their education. Returning to class is a huge part of restoring a sense of normalcy and routine.”

Even before Irma set her sights on Florida, Texans were dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and SPC was rallying to support them with the Titans for Texas (#Titans4Texas) drive that gathered donations of bottled water, non-perishable food items, toiletries, clothes, bedding and other necessities and was donated to the Red Cross efforts in Texas.

College officials also make sure that the SPC family was cared for before and after Hurricane Irma passed through the Tampa Bay area. Williams kept in close communication with her staff and students before and after the storm with updates via text, social media and emails regarding closures and encouraging a focus on their own safety.

“I felt like the college made the right calls throughout the storm. I really appreciated being informed and being given the time to take care of my family and not have to worry about anything else,” SPC student Monica Wilkes said.

SPC Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria, communityDisplaced students who are eligible for the in-state tuition rate can contact SPC’s pre-admissions team at (727) 341-3400. Current students or those who have already applied can call Maria Drew at (727) 341-3121 or Mary Ortiz at (727) 341-3403.

Williams said SPC is dedicated to finding solutions to any problems that might stand in the way of students reaching their goals.

“I know that many people affected by those storms were in the midst of working on a degree,” Williams stated. “At SPC, we are all about making sure people have every opportunity to better themselves through education, and we’re happy to extend a solution to them.”

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