Attending college was never a question for Esther Consuegra. Paying for it was another matter.
Consuegra, 18, is a graduate of G-Star School of the Arts in Palm Springs with hopes of a future in graphic design. Her plan this fall was to attend Palm Beach State College, mainly because it’s five minutes from her Lake Worth Beach home and the best fit for her budget.
But even staying home didn’t assure Consuegra she could fund her schooling costs. Her father and mother, Cuban immigrants who came to the U.S. in 2003 and are now divorced, work as a handyman and hotel housekeeper, respectively. Esther lives with her mom.
“I don’t know how we would have covered the costs for college,” Consuegra said.
Thanks to the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program, which provides full scholarships to Florida Atlantic University for first generation, low-income students, Consuegra’s financial worries regarding college are over.
Consuegra is one of four 2021 high school graduates from Lake Worth Beach — along with Lake Worth High School alums Natalia Escovar, Jackelin Guzman-Alvarez and Dodlee Mosilme — awarded scholarships that pay for four years of tuition, on-campus housing, books, a meal plan and additional resources while permitting the students to graduate debt-free.
In the context of the Kelly/Strul program, “first generation” is defined as students whose parents did not complete a four-year degree.
Keven Allen, who oversees FAU’s program, says the cost of the scholarship is around $100,000.
“The No. 1 barrier to a college education for a first-generation student is financial,” Allen said. “They’re not needy or lacking in any other way. The only thing we’re doing is reducing those barriers and allowing what the students already possess to shine.”
By Jorge Milian
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