By Mark Wright

The fall 2012 semester marks the beginning of a new initiative to offer USF business classes at the HCC SouthShore Campus.

The goal of this program is to make taking USF classes more accessible to USFSM (University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee) students living in South Hillsborough County.

It pretty much all boils down to geography. The HCC SouthShore Campus lies almost in the dead center between USF’s Sarasota Campus and its main campus in Tampa. With a thirty to 45-minute drive from SouthShore to either location, USFSM students may not have the time or means to make the drive multiple times each week. This program seeks to fill the needs of students living in that area.

In addition to offering two classes, Law and Business and Principles of Management, students enrolled in the fall semester are also eligible to take online classes offered by USFSM and USF Tampa. Between these online classes and the classes offered on the HCC SouthShore Campus, students can conceivably receive a B.S. in Business without having to ever set foot on a USF Campus.

Along with saving money on commutes between campuses, students also save money by taking their prerequisites at community college.

Here’s how it works. HCC tuition runs for $104.39 per credit and USFSM $168.27 per credit. Students only pay USFSM tuition for the USFSM courses they enroll in. So in the end, students save a substantial amount of money while earning the same degree as their peers who spend the full four years at USF.

Students close to finishing their AA also have the option to enroll at USFSM as a non-degree seeking student. To make it even easier for USFSM students to take advantage of this program, HCC, Pasco-Hernando Community College and St. Petersburg College made an agreement with USF that grants any student that earns an AA from one of these three colleges automatic admission to USF.

This agreement, alongside the option to enroll as a non-degree seeking student, makes for an almost seamless transition from community college to university life.

In order to be eligible for this program “students would need their AA degree or at least 60 credits,” said USFSM recruiter Ashley Abene. “Students do not have to be enrolled as a business major to take the classes”.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.