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Perspective: The Benefits of Earning a Degree from a Top Tier National Research University

* This is the beginning of a series authored by leaders with varying perspectives on the benefits of USF being "One University Geographically Distributed." 

By: Martin Tadlock, Regional Chancellor, St. Petersburg Campus
Ralph C. Wilcox, Provost and Executive Vice President

Beginning July 1, 2020, all students graduating from the newly-consolidated university will earn a degree from the University of South Florida (USF) regardless of their home campus. 

As one of just three Preeminent State Research Universities in Florida, and the only one located in a metropolitan region, USF meets the highest state legislature designated standards in areas of student access and success, faculty quality and awards, research productivity, institutional rankings, and philanthropy. 

USF is also ranked among the top 50 public universities in the U.S., by six highly prestigious national and international organizations and is America’s fastest rising institution among all universities ranked by U.S. News and World Report over the past decade. 

With consolidation, USF students are provided access to a broader array of rigorous and relevant accredited degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral research, and professional levels on all three campuses. Programs that are led by world-class professors who are research active in their academic fields and a growing number of faculty who are elected to membership in the national academies of engineering, medicine, and science and are recipients of other prestigious awards. Whether undergraduate students enroll as freshmen or transfer-in from a Florida College System partner institution, all graduates receive the same Preeminent USF degree. 

Graduating from USF certifies that a student has met highly competitive admission and completion standards and has demonstrated the mastery of knowledge and skill acquisition essential to success in a global context. While most graduates will enter the workforce, others will earn prestigious national scholarships and awards, leading to placement in top graduate and professional programs (e.g., medical and law schools) across the United States and around the world.  

USF is the most diverse of Florida’s Preeminent universities, awarding the highest proportion of baccalaureate degrees to African American and Hispanic students of the three preeminent universities in Florida. Ranked as #1 in the nation for Latino Student Success, #6 for Black Student Success, and #9 for Pell Student Success, USF has eliminated the achievement gap on the basis of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status of students. This has been accomplished while accelerating the USF student pathway to graduation comparing well with the best universities in the nation. 

At a time when students are eager to pursue a higher education that prepares them for highly competitive careers that will challenge them, align with their passion, meet the needs of employers needs, and pay well, USF is pleased to be the leader among all Florida universities in the proportion of students earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in state-designated “areas of strategic emphasis”, including business, education, health, science, technology, and engineering.

Consolidation assures a bright future for students who enroll at USF.  The student experience will extend across a broader array of high demand degree programs, to an education that provides “real world” experience in a top tier research university and throughout a vibrant region, to classes taken with world-class professors alongside other talented students, to equity in performance, and a degree earned from a nationally and globally ranked Preeminent university. A consolidated USF will bring with it a premium advantage that benefits both students and the communities we serve. 

For questions about USF Consolidation, please see FAQs.