LISTEN LIVE

USF St. Petersburg Expanding Opportunities for Pinellas Students

May 23, 2018

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg announced a plan Wednesday to expand scholarship programs for students from Pinellas County.

The scholarships are part of a partnership between USF St. Pete and St. Petersburg College, and are meant to help students from local schools earn a degree from USF.

The two scholarships are worth a total of $65,000. One targets an existing program called FUSE, while the Blue and Gold Scholarship is new, said Martin Tadlock regional chancellor at USFSP. 

"That's going to be a scholarship that encourages high school students that meet certain criteria and eligibility to come into St. Pete College," he said. "Once you've met everything that you need at St. Pete College, you're going to come right into USF."

The money for the scholarships is part of a $700,000 budget increase USFSP received from the state this year. A total of $40,000 will go to the Blue and Gold Scholarship. The remaining amount is reserved for FUSE scholarships, which will be offered for the first time next year.

The FUSE program offers students at SPC  automatic admission to a USF-system school as long as they meet basic requirements — a C-average and having completed at least two-thirds of required classes. The program started in 2016 and includes eight other state colleges.

USFSP and SPC also plan to use state money to improve other aspects of their partnership.

Leaders haven't worked out all the details yet, but SPC president Tonjua Williams said she hopes the expansion reaches beyond college and into Pinellas County schools.

"We're building a full pipeline from VPK all the way to a doctorate," Williams said. "It is so unfortunate that many of our Pinellas County residents really don't understand the jewel that they have in our higher education opportunities and the pathways that are there for them."