The acronym for the University of South Florida is sometimes said to stand for "U Stay Forever." But cutting against that quip will be an innovative new program between USF and Stetson University College of Law that will enable some of USF's best and brightest students to accelerate their undergraduate studies and get a head start on a law degree.
The "3+3" program, designed after a similar arrangement at USF's Morsani College of Medicine, is a unique public-private higher education partnership to help students realize their ambitions of entering the legal profession. Other academic disciplines should consider adopting the USF/Stetson model for their own highly motivated students.
The traditional route to a law degree has involved four years of undergraduate work, followed by three years of law school. But under the "3+3" program, after meeting rigorous academic and LSAT test standards, students enrolled in the USF Honors College can apply to finish their fourth year of undergraduate studies at Stetson's law school. Once 31 credit hours have been completed, those Stetson credits will be applied to a USF bachelor's degree.
Universities should be places that foster innovative ideas. The USF/Stetson partnership meets that benchmark in enhancing the undergraduate experience and preparing students for a professional career in the real world.