Why is this worth your time?

See how it helps:

Destination Graduation is a program that has a significant impact in students’ lives, and it also helps improve your higher education institution’s performance metrics, and your community. See 2017 data below:


  1. 70% of students who received Emergency Persistence Funds re-enrolled or graduated in the next semester.
    • This compares to:
      • 57% of all low-income students at Seminole State College
        • 23% increase for all low-income Students
      • 58% of students who received Navigator (2-1-1) assistance only
  2. 49% increase in re-enrollment rates when compared to DG students who experienced a crisis but were not assisted (47 to 70 percentage points).

Nicole’s story of perseverance:

Nicole had a lot on her plate. As a single mom to 3 kids under the age of 12, her hands were already full. But she was also worked as a substitute teacher, was going to Seminole State College and living with her mother who had been sick in the hospital.


When her mother got better, her mother decided she wanted to move to take care of Nicole’s grandmother who was suffering from dementia. While Nicole had a full-time position waiting for her at the start of the school year, she had the three-month summer period without steady income. And now, she needed to find a new place to live.


Nicole stayed in hotels and with friends while waiting for her student financial aid to come in. However, there was a clerical error that meant she wouldn’t have any financial aid left over to help her with rent deposits like she had hoped. Her college advisor recommended she contact Destination Graduation. Nicole called Jackie, the Destination Graduation navigator. Jackie was able to provide community resources that helped Nicole start to get back on her feet. They stayed in contact. Nicole was on the wait list for income-restricted apartments, but was on a strict deadline to find housing by August 1. Worried that her kids would start the new school year living in a car, she was determined to find them a home in time.


When an apartment near school became available, Nicole reached out to Destination Graduation for assistance. Keren, DG Manager, was able to quickly provide financial assistance paying the initial deposit and first month of rent. “My kids can go to school without having to wonder where we are going to sleep tonight,” Nicole says. “I’m so grateful for the help Destination Graduation has provided me and my kids!”


Nicole and her kids recently moved into their new home at the beginning of August. Her kids are excited to start school later this week and Nicole is looking forward to returning to work at Seminole Public Schools as a full time substitute teacher. She has three classes left to finish at Seminole State College to graduate with her Associate’s degree in Elementary Education.

What staff and students have to say:

[...] Seminole State, for example, posted among the best retention rates in the state[.] At Seminole State, [69 percent of first-time students in Fall 2015 returned the following year, compared with 65 percent across the state]. Seminole State President E. Ann McGee credited her school's success to programs like Destination Graduation, a partnership with [Heart of Florida] United Way that connects students who are veterans or low-income to emergency grants and other resources. 


Annie Martin

Orlando Sentinel

As an advisor who sees many students in unique situations, it is a relief to me to have Destination Graduation as a resource to which I can refer my students. Several of my students have recently faced a financial challenge that would have prevented them from continuing their education if it had not been for the assistance that United Way provided. Having a 2-1-1 specialist and case manager on campus has been a real blessing so that students have someone they can visit face to face to work out the challenges to their success. It is a joy to see the students able to continue their educational journeys overcoming challenging obstacles with the help of Destination Graduation.


Turi Moore

Career Program Advisor (STEM)

That’s from the college’s perspective… What are students saying? What are their stories?

Immediate response, great to work with staff. They show interest in those they help and my need was met in a couple of days. Without that, I wouldn’t be able to graduate this semester.


SSC Student

Spring 2018

For my last semester at Seminole State College of Florida, I was in a bind for tuition for my graduating term. Working hard to achieve my Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management and Professional Services degree, making the Dean’s and Presidents list through most of my semesters. I didn’t want to drop out and seek out my resources on campus. I heard of Destination Graduation from the school club and fair events on campus. I struggled with getting though financial aid due to rules and regulations, but with the help of the wonderful Jackie B., Destination Graduation Navigator, I could pursue my last semester. It wouldn’t have been possible without the resources offered by DG. Thank you so much for the staff, Jackie B., and United Way.


SSC Student

Fall 2018