Puerto Rican students get a fresh start at USF after Hurricane Maria.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Spring semester is now underway for state colleges in Florida -- and students from Puerto Rico are now able to start classes.
So far over 200,000 people have left the island after Hurricane Maria hit at the end of September.
Many public universities and all 28 state colleges offered Puerto Rican students the chance to enroll and pay in-state tuition costs.
Jose Cano was one of those students who took the opportunity as he applied to USF as a junior.
He says he vividly remembers the horror he saw after Maria hit.
"It was chaos," he said.
Cano tells us he's never left the island, except when he decided to get on a flight in mid December to come to Florida to study in the states.
"That was the main attraction, it's the same price now as Puerto Rico," he said.
Cano compares USF's campus the size as an entire town in Puerto Rico.
Him and his friends who also came are in the same microbiology program -- where they all plan to study medicine.
Cano says USF is giving him an opportunity to have better resources, more technology, and harder classes.
In all, 18 students from Puerto Rico have enrolled at USF.
They will only have the opportunity for in-state tuition for Spring of 2018, but will plan on having residency by Fall of 2018.