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Education

Graduate Tampa Bay Aims to Complete the College Experience

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HCC President Jeff Atwater, at the podium, and USF President Judy Genshaft, right

TAMPA - A lot of students go to College - but they end up leaving without that sheepskin up on the wall. Nearly 700,000 people in the Tampa Bay area alone have some college experience - but no degree. That's the work from a new consortium of local university, college and business leaders who want to get them back in the classroom.

 They call it Graduate Tampa Bay.

 Hillsborough Community College President Ken Atwater says there's several common things every local college and university is doing to improve graduation rates.

 "One, we're removing barriers for degree of completion," says Atwater, "two - we're talking about collaborative approaches and doing that, and we're also advocating very hard on the value of having those degrees. "

 USF President Judy Genshaft says one of the ideas to empower those who think higher education is just a dream - for someone else.

"This partnership exists between our leading institutions, and it signals to the world that we are serious about building a highly educated workforce that will transform the future of our region, our communities and or families for the better," she told the crowd gathered at TECO's headquarters in downtown Tampa. " And we can get there by removing roadblocks that exist by providing practical, workable solutions."