USF system strengthens relationships with community colleges

A new guaranteed admission program, called “FUSE,” will allow students from regional community colleges guaranteed admission into the University of South Florida and program of their choice.

While similar to the existing “2+2” program, FUSE will provide more academic support and help students feel early on like they’re part of the USF community, said Sandra Stone, the regional chancellor at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.

“It’s much more structured, it’s more inclusive in terms of bringing those students into the USF system at the very beginning so they start to identify themselves as USF,” Stone said Friday, after attending a launch event at the Tampa campus for the program on the Tampa campus.

The program helps ensure students will take the classes needed to seamlessly attain their associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, provides students with a USF adviser at the onset and allows students access to campus activities like clubs and speaker series.

“I think one of the most exciting parts about it for students is that it allows them to see the end at the beginning,” SCF president Carol Probstfeld said after the event. “The student has a clear pathway from the moment they start.”

USF Sarasota-Manatee and SCF plan to have their FUSE programs set for the start of the fall 2017 semester. SCF has already mapped out which degree programs it offers that are compatible with programs offered at USF Sarasota-Manatee and is now looking at the Tampa and St. Pete campuses.

Accounting is one field that Prosbtfeld said she is particularly excited about.

“We know as an institution when we’re trying to hire, it’s very difficult to find accountants,” she said. “Students will have opportunity at USF Sarasota-Manatee, USF St. Petersburg and USF Tampa to have the possibility of direct acceptance into those specific degree programs in accounting.”

All three USF programs will be participating once USF Sarasota-Manatee gets the program rolling. From the Florida College System side institutions include State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, Hillsborough Community College, Hernando State College, Polk State College, South Florida State College, St. Petersburg College and College of Central Florida.

Meghin Delaney: 941-745-7081, @MeghinDelaney