Board of Governors removes enrollment cap for USF Sarasota-Manatee

USFSM

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 19, 2015) – Student enrollment at USF Sarasota-Manatee is no longer limited after a decision Thursday by the State University System of Florida Board of Governors to allow the university to exceed 25 percent of its full-time equivalent credit hours at the lower level.

“This is an exciting step forward for USF Sarasota-Manatee. By allowing our campus to increase the number of freshman and sophomore students, we are now able to serve a higher percentage of local, traditional college students,” Dr. Sandra Stone, USF Sarasota-Manatee regional chancellor, said.

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s current enrollment – student head count – stands at 1,917. That is the number of students who on admissions records claim USF Sarasota-Manatee to be their “Home Campus,” even though they might take courses throughout the USF System.

Practically speaking, the ability to offer more than 25 percent of FTE (full-time equivalent) hours to freshman and sophomore students means USFSM will be able to expand its course offerings – thereby enabling greater numbers of student registrations.

Those enrollment increases could take hold immediately. Fall registration is occurring now through the end of June.

However, they are likely to occur more prominently in the spring 2016 term and next fall as graduating high school seniors firm up their college plans.

“We could see an impact this fall, but more likely we will see a change as students make their college choices for spring 2016 and fall 2016,” Dr. Stone said.

The board of governor’s approval comes as USF Sarasota-Manatee is achieving greater milestones and growing faster than expected.

For decades, since the campus was founded in 1975, USF Sarasota-Manatee derived accreditation through its affiliation with the USF campus in Tampa.

That changed, however, in 2011 when, like USF St. Petersburg before it, USF Sarasota-Manatee earned separate accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Then in 2013, with approval of the USF Board of Trustees, the campus hit an additional milestone when it began to admit its first freshman class. The changes sparked much wider interest by prospective students than expected.

“We are so grateful to the Board of Governors for their approval of USFSM’s proposal to expand lower-level enrollment,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “This expansion reflects the USF System’s continued commitment to providing access to high-quality education to the region we serve.”

When the university began accepting sophomores and welcomed its first freshman class, it was anticipated that freshmen and sophomores would not make up more than 25 percent of the full-time student population until the 2017-18 academic year.

Now the university expects to exceed the 25 percent target in the coming year based on an expressed community demand from prospective students. Although USFSM is now free to grow its lower-level undergraduate numbers, the campus continues to remain focused on quality growth to keep the small, personal learning environment that the campus has become known for.

USF Sarasota-Manatee received full support for this proposal from State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota as well as New College of Florida, the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, the Sarasota Economic Development Council, the North Port Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Bradenton Area Economic Development Council and the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.

“USF Sarasota-Manatee has had a monumental five years, and this is the next major milestone in our 40-year history in this community,” Dr. Stone said. “Now, we will look ahead as we begin to follow our new strategic plan which will guide us on a path to an even brighter future.”

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About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, North Port and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu