The University of South Florida (USF) launched a new program last week that increases access to bachelor’s degrees for area community college students by guaranteeing their admission to the university.
Through the program, called FUSE, students who attend and earn their associate degree from one of seven colleges in the Florida College System (FCS) — and meet certain GPA and other program-specific requirements — will automatically gain admission to USF to earn their bachelor’s degree in the discipline of their choosing.
“This is a groundbreaking partnership that is going to make a … meaningful difference in the lives of students and their families,” USF System President Judy Genshaft said during a videotaped address to FUSE students. “Together, these great institutions are creating a seamless path to degrees for students all across our region.”
To help ensure a smooth transition for students, classes will be synced between institutions to eliminate redundancies and to make sure students are taking all required classes to attain both their associate and bachelor’s degree. Program coordinators believe that FUSE will also help address cost barriers for some students.
Beyond guaranteed admission, students will have access to academic advising at both FCS schools and USF. And to help them get acquainted with and feel welcome on USF’s campus, they are encouraged to begin participating in on-campus activities and events prior to even enrolling at the university.
All incoming FUSE students participated in a kickoff event on October 21, called USF FUSE Day, which included a tour of campus, exposure to university leaders, and other activities.
“By uniting,” Genshaft said, “we are providing world-class learning opportunities that will prepare students to be globally competitive in their careers.”