Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program

Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program
Academic Level
Issue Area
Support Services
Key Personnel
Program Focus


The Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars program boldly reimagines the first-generation student experience by providing transformative access, comprehensive scholarships, and elite support programs. Together, we are changing the trajectories of students and their families; ensuring that all of Florida’s brightest and most talented students have the opportunity to succeed in their lives and careers by earning degrees from the state’s premier university.

Program Description

The MFOS Program was created in 2006. UF and then President Machen recognized students from low socio-economic backgrounds could be deterred from enrolling in college because of fear of debt and concern that working while in school could hinder the chances for academic success. The program’s goal is for first-generation, low-income students at the University of Florida (UF) to earn a bachelor’s degree without relying on student loans by providing a full grant and scholarship package and opportunities for personal development.

The MFOS program provides grant/scholarship financial aid packages to cover the full cost of attendance for first-generation college freshmen Florida residents from historically low-income families who make less than $40,000 per year. The program also provides opportunities to develop life skills, increase self-awareness, plan for a meaningful career, and financial literacy education. Students are encouraged to join in the First-Generation Academy (FGA). FGA is a year-long leadership program that teaches about self-awareness, career preparation, and global citizenship. To date, MFOS has supported over 4,100 students with more than 1,320 of them being Latinos.


MFOS scholars are retained and graduate on par with their UF peers. In 2018:

  • 72% of Latino MFOS scholars earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • 17% of Latino MFOS scholars study abroad.
  • 64 MFOS Latino students have earned graduate degrees from UF
  • MFOS Latino students enrolled are from 44 counties out of the 67 counties in Florida.
  • In 2012, MFOS supported 285 incoming first-year students, 104 of those being Latino students. Of these students 97% were retained for 4 years and 67% graduated within four years or less.