CFEED Research Informs Osceola Prosper, Helps Launch Third Year. 5,000 Osceola County Students Receive Tuition-Free College in First Two Years

Published by Leita Hermanson on

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 3, 2023 — Osceola Prosper recently got the green light for a third year, thanks to CFEED research.

An innovative and important program, Prosper was launched in 2022 to boost enrollments and to increase access to higher education in Osceola County. In less than two years, the program has reached and impacted the lives of more than 5,000 students in Osceola County.

Osceola County Commissioners recently allocated $8.3 million to continue the program for a third year. That means Osceola Prosper will continue to offer tuition coverage at Valencia College and Osceola Technical College (OTECH) for Osceola County graduates into 2024. That’s good news for the 6,195 currently enrolled 12th graders who are expected to graduate in 2024. Those students could enroll at either Valencia or OTECH by summer or fall of 2024, or spring 2025. Osceola Prosper is open to any Osceola County graduate whether they have been in a public, charter, private, or home-school setting, and requires no minimum grade point average or entry-test score.

Osceola Prosper Timeline

Program Inception

Leaders from OCC, Valencia College, the School District of Osceola County (SDOC), and others formed a collaboration in 2022 to launch Osceola Prosper. These organizations shared a vision to increase access to college education and to bolster the county’s workforce and economy. They also wanted to address enrollment declines in higher education that had been occurring since Covid.

Role of Research in Program Creation

Leaders turned to CFEED findings to conduct market research for Osceola Prosper. The consortium of leaders, researchers, and analysts from Valencia College and SDOC, who are part of CFEED, contributed data, analytics tools, researchers, and governance teams to interpret insights and suggest impacts. This research played a crucial role in the county’s decision to launch the program.

More recently, Dr. Kathleen Plinske, President of Valencia College used more recent/updated CFEED data on Osceola Prosper students in her presentation to rally support to continue Osceola Prosper for a third year.  By looking at data for SDOC students who used Osceola Prosper Scholarships, CFEED researchers discovered 1,126 students who had directly matriculated from SDOC core high schools into Valencia. (These students graduated from SDOC in 2022 and began coursework at Valencia in 2023.) By drilling down into details about these students, CFEED researchers found that:

  • When looking at first term GPA’s, the Osceola Prosper direct matriculators had a 0.53-point lower GPA than other direct matriculators.
  • Among this same cohort, researchers identified 344 Prosper students who will need more support to complete their AA or AS program.  They’re entering Valencia as “High Risk” of attritting.
  • Finding such as these are important for education leaders who can use them to support their students.

Innovative Models on student readiness

CFEED’s focus on student readiness research is drawn from fifteen years of data obtained from students’ academic transcripts and 700+ high-quality metrics on the student experience from SDOC, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), Valencia, and UCF. The models analyze courses taken, and the level, rigor, sequence, and grades achieved. Factors such as course failures, repetitions, and subject performance in honors or AP classes, can predict readiness for higher-level coursework. CFEED has created models based on this data, to inform transfer readiness and predict shock events. Education leaders and others can leverage this information to guide students and to address course deficiencies.

Program Outcomes 

The program’s early results show that Osceola Prosper has successfully increased matriculation into Valencia College, which had been in decline since Covid. CFEED’s research was instrumental in identifying a population of students that could help fill the transfer funnel gap caused by declining enrollments, Michael Holt, CFEED Product Director/Innovation Manager, said. Plinske highlighted that Prosper students have earned 133 associate degrees and 108 certificates since the program’s inception, emphasizing that free college significantly reduces barriers to higher education. “At the same time, continued research shows that Osceola Prosper students have greater risk rates than other matriculators, so the next step is to provide ongoing support to these students.”

Several dozen Prosper Students began their college journey at UCF in the Fall of 2023. Data for the 2023 cohort outcomes is not yet available.

With Osceola County sponsoring the program and Valencia College administering it, Osceola Prosper represents a significant stride in achieving multiple objectives. Mark Pino, Public Relations Officer at Osceola County BOCC, explained that Osceola Prosper was born out of a collaborative effort between the Osceola County Commissioners, Valencia College, CFEED, and SDOC.

To learn more about how CFEED research can impact student success, contact us at


About Osceola Prosper

Osceola Prosper offers support to high school graduates from Osceola County, covering tuition and fees (after accounting for grants or scholarships) for their entire duration at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College (OTECH). Established in 2022 through extensive collaboration between Valencia College, Osceola County Commissioners, and The School District of Osceola County, this program used various data, including CFEED research, which highlighted years of declining enrollment at Valencia. The program’s goals were to increase matriculation at Valencia and provide a pathway for students to earn an associate degree without accruing student loan debt.


The Central Florida Education Ecosystem Database is a collaborative data sharing project including Orange County Public Schools, The School District of Osceola County, Valencia College, and University of Central Florida. CFEED has developed a database with front-end analytic capability that compiles historical and ongoing data from all partners allowing us to conduct research and identify insights about student success, course pathways, and other trends via data analysis and reporting tools.


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