Can today’s college students realistically expect to graduate debt-free? For far too many, sadly, the answer is “no.” Most face a double whammy of expense: tuition, which has been growing faster than the rate of inflation, and the cost of living away from home. For many students, graduating without having to cope with a heavy burden of debt just as they’re trying to get started in a career is but a distant dream. Indeed, student loan debt now tops $1 trillion, which is more than the total credit card debt in this credit-happy nation.

Yet for some bright young collegians in Florida, graduating virtually debt-free is not a mere pipe dream; it’s a reality thanks to the Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF), a group that is unique to Florida and this year marked the 60th anniversary of its formal organization as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation back in 1955.

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