Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Education

USF, local colleges cooperate to award more associate degrees

TAMPA — You're filling out a job application. You don't have a bachelor's degree. You don't have an associate degree. But you do have credits at different schools, and that ought to mean something, so you write, "some college." In an employer's eyes, that might not count as much.

A new agreement between the University of South Florida and local state colleges aims to make it count. Students have long transferred coursework from, say, St. Petersburg College to USF. Under the new agreement, they could transfer work done at USF back to state colleges toward associate of arts degrees.

They're calling it a "reverse transfer." Presidents and representatives from USF, SPC, Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando Community College and Polk State College got together Monday at USF to sign the agreement into reality. In its earliest stages, it's expected to help hundreds of students.

"This is an important piece," said SPC president Bill Law. "It documents success. It gives us another way for a student to demonstrate what he or she has achieved. … All of us know life intrudes for many of our students, and it's never a straight line from one place to another, academically. If life intrudes and they don't have this, then they really have nothing."

The goal is to get more people holding associate degrees. They may be people who went to community college and transferred to USF just shy of graduation. Or they may be people who started at USF and left for community college. If the course numbers match and the student meets some criteria, the credits can transfer.

An associate degree might help students get a job and make more money — the Florida unemployment rate drops with each level of college degree. Educators also say it can help with a sense of pride and give them confidence to finish a bachelor's degree.

"Over 60 percent of our students transfer to USF," said HCC president Ken Atwater. "A lot of them transfer without degrees, so the opportunity to go back now and award degrees is only going to help them as they get involved in the labor market. But more importantly, we hope it'll be incentive for them to complete their studies at USF."

The partnership is part of a $6.4 million initiative that spans 12 states and is funded by five education groups, including the Helios Education Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It takes some manpower because the schools have to identify potential prospects, exchange student records, talk to the students and confer the degrees.

Higher education outfits in Tampa Bay have grown more harmonious. In 2011, USF and the colleges came together to figure out how to boost retention and graduation. In March, the schools joined the Tampa Bay Partnership to launch the Graduate Tampa Bay campaign aimed at getting diplomas to the 700,000 people in town with college credits but no degrees.

In January, the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment released a report urging colleges and universities to help students get all the way, not some of the way, to graduation.

"We as a region are working very hard to make sure that our adults have the degrees and the education they need," said USF president Judy Genshaft. "We know that helps our economy. We know that helps them with their own opportunities, through career, workforce and their families. It's a major part of what we do. If we can ease the access for our students, we're making a difference."

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3394.

Comments

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Updated: 6 hours ago
After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

TAMPA — Sam Sharf’s parents thought he had the best position on the Plant High School football team. As back-up quarterback, he could impress the girls but rarely played enough to get hurt.Now a junior, Sharf is off the team so he can focus his energ...
Published: 04/18/18

Gannon University’s Ruskin growth includes $21 million addition

RUSKIN — Gannon University is experiencing some serious growing pains and as a result, SouthShore is going to see a big change in the landscape. When it opened its doors in 2015 as a satellite campus for its home school in Erie, Pa., Gannon occupied ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Enrollment growth anticipated for Pasco County charter schools, with two more to open in the fall

Most of Pasco County’s more established charter schools expect to see their student population remain stable in 2018-19.Even so, enrollment in the county’s charter schools is expected to grow by about 1,100 children — or nearly 25 percent — in the fa...
Published: 04/17/18
Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

LAND O’ LAKES — As a child, Taylor Young started doodling with crayons as a hobby. Now at age 16, this Sunlake High School sophomore has received a full scholarship, valued at $6,000, to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design Summer Pre-Colleg...
Published: 04/16/18
Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

A Florida high school student who said she was told to cover up her nipples after not wearing a bra to school is planning a protest in response. Lizzy Martinez’ "bracott" will take place today at Braden River High in Manatee County, according to Twit...
Published: 04/16/18

School news for April 20

School Calendar• April 27: Progress reports• May 17-20: High school graduations.• May 25: Last day of school for students.Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• J .W. Mitchell Hi...
Published: 04/16/18
Hernando district fires all teachers at Moton Elementary, regardless of rating

Hernando district fires all teachers at Moton Elementary, regardless of rating

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County School District leaders vowed last year in their turnaround plan for struggling Moton Elementary to remove all under-performing teachers if the school earned lower than a C grade from the state in 2018.But last week — mo...
Published: 04/14/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Romano: Florida should not make fairness a moving target

Romano: Florida should not make fairness a moving target

The program I want to tell you about makes perfect sense. In many ways, it is fair and compassionate. Practical and wise.It is also an excellent example of Tallahassee’s pick-and-choose style of justice.The Legislature was gung-ho on passing a bill t...
Published: 04/14/18
New Florida scholarship aims to boost third-grade readers

New Florida scholarship aims to boost third-grade readers

Third grader Gavin Kaechele’s mom, Laryssa, knew something was up when the 9-year-old used the word "invalidate" while preparing to take the Florida Standards Assessments last week."He said, ‘If I fidget in my chair, it could invalidate my test,’" La...
Published: 04/14/18