Students May Apply for Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds III Starting Friday

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Valencia College is awarding $50 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III grants to students enrolled in the Fall 2021 term, and applications for the first round of student aid will open Friday, November 5, 2021.

HEERF was established and funded by the federal government to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care. Valencia College plans to distribute the HEERF III emergency grants in multiple rounds with an application process that will begin on Friday, November 5 and will close on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

In this round of HEERF funding, there will be three groups of students who are eligible for a grant. Each group will have unique eligibility criteria and will be eligible to apply for specified grant award amounts. Students who are eligible to apply for a HEERF III grant will be contacted through email. For an example email that will be sent to degree- and certificate-seeking students, click here. Students may only apply for one grant during this period, even if they meet multiple eligible criteria.

Degree- and Certificate-seeking Students

To be eligible to receive emergency aid as degree- or certificate-seeking students, they must be enrolled at Valencia College in at least one course in a degree or certificate program in the Fall 2021 term and have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling.

Eligible degree- and certificate-seeking students who apply for a HEERF III grant and have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero through their 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will receive $2,000. Students must have a 2021-22 FAFSA on file to be potentially eligible to receive this amount.

Eligible students who apply for a HEERF III grant and do not have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero or students who have not completed their 2021-22 FAFSA will receive a $1,500 grant.

Accelerated Skills Training Students

To be eligible to receive emergency aid as students enrolled in a Valencia College Accelerated Skills Training (AST) program, they must be enrolled in an AST program that meets anytime between Monday, August 23 and Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Eligible AST students who apply for a HEERF III grant will receive a $1,000 grant.

Intensive English Program and English for Speakers of Other Languages Students

To be eligible to receive emergency aid as students enrolled in a Valencia College Intensive English Program (IEP) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, students must be enrolled in an IEP or ESOL program that meets anytime between Monday, August 23 and Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Eligible language students who apply for a HEERF III grant will receive a $500 grant.

For more information on HEERF III, including frequently asked questions, visit the webpage.

You’re Invited to Attend the Virtual Peace Breakfast: An Interfaith Gathering

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Time: 9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. 
Location: Online. Register here

The virtual Peace Breakfast hosted by the Peace and Justice Institute (PJI) provides an opportunity to slow down and pause for fellowship and prayer while celebrating and promoting religious and cultural diversity. This year, the theme of the Peace Breakfast is what one’s faith or thought philosophy teaches us about grief and loss.

As Peace and Justice Institute Director Rachel Allen mentioned in the Fall/Winter 2021 PJI Journal, “Now, more than ever, we need community to address the shared suffering we experience with COVID-19. Few among us have not been touched by the ravages of the pandemic with the disparity in health outcomes, economic devastation, loss of loved ones or the consequences of the isolation so many experience.”

The Peace Breakfast will bring together leaders from various faith traditions to participate in an interfaith dialogue about grief and loss. Participants will have the opportunity to interact and share during breakout sessions.

The Peace Breakfast, founded by Penny Villegas, was the first signature event of the Peace and Justice Initiative, and it continues to offer an opportunity for those of different faiths and those without religion to share their perspectives and find commonalities between them.

If you have any questions, contact PJI at or 407-582-2291.

Take the Food Services Survey for a Chance to Win a $50 Visa Gift Card

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Our Food Services provider, Aladdin Foods, is conducting a survey to better understand your campus lifestyle and preferences, as well as your current experience with Valencia College’s food services.

Please take a few moments to complete the survey by clicking on the button below, and you’ll have a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card.

Campus Store Update: Book Orders and West Campus Store Hours

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

As students start to prepare for spring 2022, Valencia College’s Campus Store will continue to sell books and class materials online. Books will no longer be sold at the Campus Store locations.

Books can be ordered 24/7 and delivered by mail to the student’s home address. Students can also pick up their book order at West Campus — and, starting in January 2022, they’ll be able to pick up orders at the Lake Nona Campus. All other locations will remain closed for renovations during the spring semester.

Additionally, starting this week, West Campus Store hours are changing to Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The West Campus Store will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you have questions, contact Mona Liza Colon, director, auxiliary services, at or by phone at (407) 582-3434.

Banner and Related Systems Are Back Online

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Atlas and all Banner-related systems are back online and available for all users, after Valencia College’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) team moved them from an onsite data center to an Amazon web services-hosted cloud environment last week and over the weekend. This move was a part of Project TITAN (Technology in the Amazon Network) and as a part of it, we can expect increased business continuity in support of student success.

If you have Atlas or other Banner-related sites bookmarked, the former bookmarks will no longer work. For new Atlas links, please log in to Atlas and select the appropriate links to obtain new bookmarks. For Banner, replace the bookmarks with those found here. Please use the same VPN and username/password that you have in the past to access.

Due to the significance of the work performed during the TITAN cutover, OIT does anticipate that users may experience technical challenges over the next few weeks. If you experience any technical issues, please submit a ticket with the OIT Service Desk at If you cannot access your computer or the internet, call 407-299-5555.

Volunteer to Help Our Graduates Celebrate During Grad Finale

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Valencia College’s Grad Finale events will take place from Thursday, December 9 – Saturday, December 11, 2021, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on East, Osceola and West Campuses.

We will need volunteers for all three locations, so if you are interested in helping our graduates celebrate, please inform your supervisor of your interest and sign up for a shift by clicking on the links below:

As we get closer to the event, volunteers will receive additional information from their designated campus team.

For general event questions, contact Shauna Anstey, director, conferencing and college events, at or 407-582-5490.

An East Campus Incident

Monday, November 1, 2021

A Special Message From Kathleen Plinske, Valencia College President

Dear Valencia Community,

I write today with news of a very troubling racially charged incident that occurred on our East Campus, just over a week ago. To emphasize the College’s commitment to inclusion, I wanted you to hear about it from me, first. It is possible there may be external media coverage on the incident. I will not share the names of the individuals involved or other personally identifiable information in an effort to protect privacy; however, those details are public record and will likely be shared if picked up by the local press.

On Thursday, October 20, 2021, one of our students called her professor a racial slur, the n-word. According to the security report, the student used the racial slur during class, in front of her classmates. The professor called Campus Safety and Security; when Campus Safety and Security arrived, the student was asked to leave the classroom, and did so.

While I cannot comment on the specific consequences that will be faced by this student, I can say this: The use of a racial slur for the purpose of insult, disparagement or harassment is deeply offensive and completely unacceptable in any circumstance. The use of racist language and racial slurs is incongruent with the inclusive learning community that we strive to create at Valencia, is a direct violation of our Student Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated.

As egregious as this incident was, if the student’s name who used the racial slur is made public, it is essential that our community refrain from any form of retaliation or harassment. As this incident illustrates, words carry power — any form of retaliation, including written or verbal contact with the student about this incident, would be unacceptable. The student is entitled to due process and is currently engaged in the student conduct disciplinary process.

There is no place in our community for this type of offensive language. While this specific incident reflects unacceptable student behavior, I want to underscore that the use of abusive, racist language by employees is similarly unacceptable and prohibited by College policy. If you are aware of or have been subjected to discrimination or harassment, there are resources and support available to you. You are encouraged to contact Ryan Kane, our assistant vice president for equity and access, at or 407-582-3421; or visit to learn more about these resources and the College’s response to allegations of discrimination and harassment. Here you will also find information about reporting options and details on how to submit a report online.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Please know that we are providing support to the faculty member who was subjected to this deeply hurtful incident as well as to the students who witnessed it. Thank you for doing your part to ensure that Valencia is a place in which each of us experiences a deep sense of belonging, feels valued and included, and experiences the conditions necessary for each of us to thrive and contribute fully to our community.

Employees With Desktop Computers Will Soon Receive Laptops

Monday, November 1, 2021

A Message from Jamie Rost, Managing Director, Campus Technology Services

Nearly 1,300 employees who currently have a desktop computer will soon receive an upgrade to a Dell Latitude 5420 laptop. In addition to the laptop, the eligible employees will also receive a full technology package, which includes two monitors, a docking station, a keyboard and a mouse.

However, due to the current supply chain issues, the full technology package may not be available at the time of the upgrade. Until the items are available, OIT will provide the eligible employees a laptop, but employees may keep their current desktop equipment. After employees receive the full technology package, they will be required to return their desktop computers and former peripheral items to OIT.

Anyone who currently has a desktop computer will be contacted by a member of the OIT team via email by the end of 2021 to schedule the upgrade process and answer any questions.

We Want to Hear from You

Friday, October 29, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

As the semester has passed the midpoint, we want to know how faculty and staff are doing. The COVID-19 season has brought new challenges to our work, and we would like to hear from you. Please use the comment section to let us know how your teaching experience is going this semester. Are you missing anything during this season of the pandemic? In what ways have you adapted? Have you learned anything new about yourself through this time?

Humanities Department Hosts ‘The Narrators: Changes’ via Zoom

Friday, October 29, 2021

A Message from Melissa Pedone and Stanton Reed, Interim Presidents, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses

Date: Thursday, November 4, 2021
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Zoom

“The Narrators” is a storytelling show that features people telling true stories based on a theme. True stories can be just as profound and powerful as masterworks of fiction. Storytelling can bring people together, foster empathy, combat isolation, loneliness and have a genuine therapeutic benefit for both the storyteller and the audience.

The theme for the fourth show of “The Narrators” is changes. Valencia students, a faculty member and a friend will share their stories.