The MFOS Program was created in 2006. UF and President Machen recognized students from low socio-economic backgrounds can be deterred from enrolling in college because of fear of debt and concern that working while in school could hinder the chances for academic success. The MFOS program provides grant/scholarship financial aid packages to cover the full cost of attendance for first-generation in college freshmen Florida residents from historically low-income families who make less than $40,000 per year. The program also provides opportunities to develop life skills, increase self-awareness, plan for a meaningful career, and financial literacy education. Students are encouraged to join in the Florida Opportunity Scholars Academy of Leadership (FOSAL). FOSAL is a year-long leadership program that teaches about self-awareness, career preparation, and global citizenship. To date, MFOS has supported over 2,900 students with more than 820 of them being Latinos.
The Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars (MFOS) Program goal is for first-generation, low-income students students at the University of Florida (UF) to earn a bachelor’s degree without relying on student loans by providing a full grant and scholarship package and opportunities for personal development.
· By March 2014, 71% of Latino MFOS scholars earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
· 22% of Latino MFOS scholars study abroad.
· 8 MFOS Latino students have applied to a graduate or professional degree program and 15 MFOS Latino students have already graduated with a graduate degree from UF.
· Latino students enrolled are from 40 counties out of the 67 counties in Florida.
· In 2008, MFOS supported 361 incoming first-year students, 90 of those being Latino students. Of these students 95% were retained for 4 years and 75% graduated within four years or less.
· During this same time, a total of 1,001 Hispanic/Latino students were FTIC students at UF. Of these students, 92% were retained for 4 years and 67% graduated within 4 four years or less.
· Additionally, MFOS provides access for first-generation Latino students to participate in student organizations on campus.