LAKELAND -- After a long and winding road toward its creation, Florida's university dedicated almost exclusively to training students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics finally opens its doors.
Florida Polytechnic University welcomes students after nearly three years of political squabbling that culminated with the school's separation from the University of South Florida in 2012.
The school does so with a stunning piece of architecture for its Innovation, Science & Technology building.
It will open with 500 students, whittled down from about 2,500 applications received. School officials say the cutting edge campus and facility will be compared to MIT and Stanford - eventually.
Never miss a local story.
The 500 students starting classes today are getting free tuition for the first year because the school is not accredited yet, and it may not be until 2016. Students are not eligible for federal financial aid. The school is offering a tuition break - $5,000 a year for each of the first three years.
After accreditation, graduation rates will be closely monitored.
Classes begin today at the school, which is the state's 12th university.