Long-awaited accreditation for Florida Poly marks school as 'serious and legitimate'
In Florida Polytechnic University’s short history, one to-do list item has loomed large.
Finally, Poly leaders can check that box.
In being granted initial regional accreditation to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Poly can assure current and future students it has the proper credentials to award quality degrees.
“Accreditation signals to prospective students and faculty that we are serious and legitimate contenders in the world of higher education,” President Randy K. Avent said in a news release, calling the milestone “the biggest yet” for the college.
Earlier this year, the STEM-centric university’s first graduating class turned their tassels in Lakeland, uncertain how employers would view their as-of-yet unaccredited diplomas. Now they can breathe easy. Their degrees are retroactively included in this week’s decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Accreditation also allows students to get federal financial aid, such as student loans and need-based Pell Grants, and opens the door to federal research funding.
When Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill creating Florida Poly in 2012, splintering the school from the University of South Florida, lawmakers gave Poly leaders a number of tasks. Accreditation was the last thing they had to achieve.
Avent said the announcement will let Poly move from “the start-up phase and into new territory.”