Senator Rick Scott holds affordable college roundtable

Senator Rick Scott held a roundtable discussion with FSU PC and Gulf Coast State College students to find ways to make college more affordable. (WJHG/WECP)
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Students from FSU Panama City and Gulf Coast State College talked about grant programs, scholarships, and other ways to make it easier for students to pay for college.

Many local college students say earning a degree is challenging but paying for your college education can be even harder. Which is why Senator Rick Scott held a roundtable discussion Monday to find ways to help out.

"We got to continue to look at programs that are different at the state and federal level. The different grants and loan programs. We got to keep trying to do everything we can to make it better," said Senator Scott.

Local students talked about grant programs, scholarships, and other ways to make it easier for students to pay for college.

Several students at the roundtable, like FSU PC Student Isis Smothers, work part-time or full-time jobs, yet say they still struggle to pay college expenses.

"After Hurricane Michael, we're struggling even worse. Not only for tuition but for houses, books, food, and everything else," said Smothers.

Smothers is a single parent and her child also attends college. She hopes the roundtable with Senator Scott can shed light on the issue.

"It's very difficult if we don't have help from the federal government," said Smothers.

Local students, like Ivy McDonald who plans to become a teacher, also asked Senator Scott about assistance for master degree programs.

"We really don't get federal grants at the masters level. Schools nowadays look for you to have a masters to be hirable. It's so hard when you have to get so mounted in loans," said McDonald.

Scott said he plans to hold round tables at other colleges and universities across the state and work with the federal government to find ways to help students save money.

Some students say their families make too much money to qualify for grants such as the Pell Grant, but they still need assistance to pay for their education. Senator Scott also sat down and talked to administrators from both schools about their programs to help students pay for school.

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