The University of Florida Foundation
of Private Matching Funds Remaining
The Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program provides financial resources and individual support with the primary goal of graduating first-generation, low-income undergraduate students. By addressing systemic barriers and challenges, we provide a full grant and scholarship financial aid package as well as a comprehensive support program to ensure students thrive at UF. We help students develop valuable college success strategies, build confidence, understand their first-generation identity, connect to peer and professional mentors, and access campus resources which prepare them for a successful college career and meaningful post-graduate life.
1 Alhambra Plaza
Coral Gables, FL 33134
The Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program supports low-income students who are first in their families to attend college. The University of Florida is committed to financially supporting academically-talented students who might not otherwise attend UF because of financial barriers. National studies have shown that students from low socio-economic backgrounds can be deterred from enrolling in a four-year college or university because of fear of debt and concerns that working while in school could hamper their chances for academic success. Many of these students opt instead to enroll in community colleges or choose not to attend college at all. To help address this concern, in fall 2005, President Bernie Machen asked then Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin to design a new financial aid access program for first generation college students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. President Machen approved a proposal to provide full grant and scholarship financial aid packages to first-generation-in-college freshmen Florida resident students from families who made less than $40,000 per year. The program provides recipients a full grant and scholarship package to earn a bachelor’s degree. The program is also assisted by private support. In Fall 2012, the program received its largest one-time gift of $10 million dollars to rename the program in honor of the original champions, Bernie and Chris Machen. The program continues to receive support from President Kent Fuchs, President Emeritus Bernard Machen, Vice President for Student Affairs David W. Parrott, Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program Director Leslie Pendleton, and donors, as well as campus administrators, faculty, alumni, and students. The transformational Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars program celebrated its first 10 years in fall 2016. During that decade, almost 4,000 students received scholarships.