Program at Catholic University opening arms to students from Puerto Rico

Program at Catholic University opening arms to students from Puerto Rico. (Photo: ABC7)

The friendship between Jerry Santiago and Hector Bencosme has endured for more than a decade; even after Santiago departed Puerto rico for college in the U-S.

Even after the island where he and his Bencosme grew up was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

"He was telling me that, 'Jerry I really think that I'm going to study in the United States because I just can't stay in Puerto Rico anymore. I can't study, I can't like do anything,'" Catholic University student Jerry Santiago said.

Santiago encouraged his friend to come to D.C. and attend his school Catholic University; which has a special offer for students in Puerto Rico.

"An opportunity for students to come to Catholic University for a semester. They will have the opportunity to take a full load of classes tuition-free," Chris Lydon, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing at Catholic said.

The offer is worth more than $22,000 dollars per person and will benefit 40 students from Puerto Rico who are currently enrolled in degree programs at a college or university on the island. Applying for free tuition in the spring semester is a simple as filling out a form on Catholic University's website.

"This is a way for us to help them stay on track for their degree and not fall behind and yet be able to return to their home institution when they're able to," Lydon said.

Santiago, a junior, majoring in philosophy and pre-law, hopes his friend Hector and others will embrace the offer.

"When I got the message, the first thing I did was call him and be like, 'Hey, you want to study for free in my university," he said.

To qualify, students must submit their applications by December 15 and can access it here.

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