In contrast to a national decrease in college enrolments, the University of Tampa received a record number of applications last year and continues to nurture a diverse and inclusive student body of over 10,500 for the 2022/23 academic year. In addition to an expanded state of the art campus and high quality teaching, students are attracted by the university’s commitment to access and affordability. Whether they are the first in their family to attend university, require encouragement to successfully complete a degree course on a lower income or need support in studying a challenging STEM subject, students from all backgrounds are well supported by universities and colleges throughout Florida.
Encouraging and Supporting STEM Students
Researchers at Florida State University in Tallahassee have recently received early-career awards from the National Science Foundation that recognizes them as emerging leaders in their fields of engineering. In enabling them to further their ground-breaking research, it is hoped that the awards will also encourage greater student success in the university’s STEM departments. As more STEM students are needed in order to fill growing numbers of vacancies in areas such as computing and engineering, outreach events in high schools and extracurricular support for community college undergraduates encourage students across Florida to achieve success in challenging subjects such as math. Named as one of the best community colleges in the US, Santa Fe College in Gainesville uses innovative teaching methods to help their students to understand and apply complex mathematical techniques. Learning techniques vary but, with input from leading academics, supplementary educational resources in calculus and algebra from Proprep are customized to meet the individual needs of students and help to further their careers in STEM fields.
Helping Lower Income Students to Graduate
Of the 32,300 undergraduates at the University of South Florida in Tampa around 13,000 are eligible for federal grant aid available to students from lower-income families. To ensure students from all backgrounds keep up with their studies and complete their courses, the university has been running a campaign to boost graduation rates. Over the ten years from 2010 to 2020, the percentage of students reaching graduation rose from 24% to 59%, making the USF one of the most improved of any large public universities. To achieve these figures, elements of the campaign include reaching out to struggling students, reducing class sizes and adding extra tutorial support where necessary.
Providing Resources for First-Generation Students
Another group of students that may benefit from extra support at university are those who are the first in their family to undertake a degree. In recognition of its commitment to these students, Florida International University in Miami has been selected to become a First Scholars Institution along with 22 other universities and colleges across the country. The First Scholars Network provides guidance and resources for first-generation university students to help them achieve success. To match the goals of the Scholars Network, the FIU has introduced three main initiatives for improved learning experiences, student support and financial assistance through scholarships.
By encouraging STEM scholars, supporting lower income undergraduates and helping first-generation applicants, universities and colleges throughout Florida are committed to ensuring more students achieve success.