Tampa – The University of South Florida System and seven regional Florida colleges today celebrated the launch of FUSE, a new guaranteed admission program that creates a seamless and timely degree path for students to earn an Associate degree before transferring to any of the USF System institutions for a Bachelor’s degree. FUSE offers guaranteed admission to the USF System and degree program of the student’s choosing. Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College are currently piloting the program, while the College of Central Florida, Pasco-Hernando State College, Polk State College, South Florida State College, and State College of Florida will be joining the program by fall 2017.
“As the largest transfer institution to the University of South Florida, HCC is especially excited that FUSE will provide our students with structured, fully articulated pathways to ensure that they remain on the right path through the completion of their Bachelor’s degree at USF,” said Hillsborough Community College President Dr. Ken Atwater.
With climbing employer demand for employees with higher education, the FUSE program will help the Tampa Bay region and surrounding areas meet this need by producing more graduates with Associate and Bachelor’s degrees.
“By 2020, 65% of Florida jobs will require a postsecondary degree or certificate, so we need to make sure students are getting the education and earning the degrees to fill those jobs,” said Laurie Meggesin, executive director, Florida College Access Network. “The FUSE program is another excellent step by USF in developing an employable workforce so critical to our state’s economy.”
Newly-released U.S. Census data shows that Florida has increased the percent of college-educated Floridians for the sixth year in a row with 39.9% of working-age adults holding an Associate degree or higher, but Florida still lags the national average of 40.9%.
“We are excited to offer students such a seamless transition from a regional Florida Community College System institution to USF,” said Ralph Wilcox, provost and senior vice president for the USF System. “FUSE students will come to us with their Associate degree, already familiar with an advisor, engaged in campus activities, and academically prepared for USF—I consider that a formula for Bachelor’s success! That’s a win for the student, USF, employers and the state of Florida.”
For more information about the FUSE program at Hillsborough Community College, visit https://www.hccfl.edu/fuse.aspx.