Critical Tools for Postsecondary Education Success

Alan Cuevas Villagomez, a 3rd year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, was able to attend college
and medical school completely debt-free thanks to The Immokalee Foundation’s scholarship programs.

by Noemi Y. Perez

From ensuring literacy for elementary-aged students in our Immokalee Readers program to supporting our graduates in their postsecondary programs, The Immokalee Foundation works hard to ensure our students have the tools they need to be successful. Regardless of his or her financial situation, our goal is to provide each student the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education.

Many young people throughout the United States must take out a loan to cover the cost of attending college. Among the nation’s graduating class of 2019, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,900.

Considering that 50% of the children in Immokalee live at or below the poverty line, our mission is to provide the opportunity for a debt-free education while setting our students up for economic independence.

“Our goal is to make education accessible,” said Paulina Magana, Postsecondary Services Manager for The Immokalee Foundation. “Whether a student wants to attend a college, university, or an advanced postsecondary certification program, we support them and give them access to scholarships that will take the financial stress off their shoulders.”

An Immokalee Foundation student can receive a scholarship in one of two ways. Through our partnership with Take Stock in Children (TSIC), we collectively break the cycle of poverty for at-risk, low-income, academically qualified students by providing postsecondary educational opportunities. Any Foundation student who qualifies and successfully meets all requirements of the TSIC program receives a Florida Prepaid Tuition scholarship with guaranteed tuition coverage for their postsecondary program of choice.

Additionally, we provide a number of Foundation sponsored scholarships—made possible by the generosity of The Immokalee Foundation’s donors—to help cover tuition and other postsecondary related expenses.

“We are here to support our students throughout their entire postsecondary journey,” said Yeimi Espinoza, The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Program Manager. “Beyond covering expenses for room and board with our typical scholarships, we also provide supplemental scholarships to help cover any additional expenses that may arise throughout their program. This can include assistance on textbooks, technology, winter clothing, plane tickets, study abroad sponsorships or test preparation.”

The Foundation also helps support students through other daunting tasks such as filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms and applying for additional scholarships outside of the Foundation and Take Stock in Children. Our programming staff hosts workshops afterschool and on weekends to help students through all the necessary pieces of applying to postsecondary programs.

“The Immokalee Foundation provided me with the guidance I needed to achieve my dreams,” said Alan Cuevas Villagomez, an Immokalee Foundation graduate and 3rd year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh. “The Foundation’s scholarship program gave me the amazing opportunity to attend college and medical school, completely debt-free.”

With the financial support of The Immokalee Foundation behind them, our students have found great success. One hundred percent of our students have a postsecondary plan for a professional career and ninety-two percent of our students graduate with an advanced post-secondary certificate or degree.

By giving our students the opportunity to succeed without the weight of financial worry on their shoulders, they truly shine.

To help support The Immokalee Foundation, or their career success scholarships, visit

About The Immokalee Foundation

For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has maintained a 100% focus on education and professional development for students in Immokalee—from kindergarten to postsecondary education. Through support, mentoring, tutoring, and life skills development, The Immokalee Foundation provides pathways to success for those who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to succeed.

For additional information, call 239-430-9122 orvisit Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at

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