University of South Florida


President Rhea Law stands with leaders from the Florida State College System.

USF President Rhea Law poses with Fuse partners from the Florida College System.

USF, Florida College System partners renew guaranteed admissions program

By Donna Smith, University Communications and Marketing

Reem Sulaiman

Reem Sulaiman, Fuse graduate

Reem Sulaiman came to the United States from Syria as a teenager with not much besides her family and a tenuous command of the English language. One thing she was holding onto tightly was her longtime dream of becoming a doctor. After beginning her academic journey at St. Petersburg College, she learned about the Fuse guaranteed admission program.

“My advisor introduced me to the Fuse program and explained how it could facilitate my journey toward a bachelor's degree,” Sulaiman said. “I felt an enormous sense of relief and gratitude for a step-by-step roadmap to reach my goal.” 

USF is celebrating the renewal of the program, which launched in 2016. Since its inception, hundreds of students have taken advantage of the Fuse program, a transfer agreement that provides efficient academic pathways for students who begin their studies at one of eight participating Florida state colleges and wish to complete a bachelor’s degree at USF in one of several select programs. The program, which has seen 667 graduates to date, boasts a 97 percent retention rate among its participants.

Fuse is an option for students who are just beginning their studies at a community college, as well as those who applied at a USF campus and were not immediately admitted. The program’s benefits begin immediately: Participants are offered perks, such as academic advising from both the community college and the USF campuses, priority course registration, guaranteed acceptance into limited-access majors and opportunities to attend select events and workshops at USF. 

Fai Howard, assistant dean of transition & academic growth at USF, says the academic pathways are the cornerstone of the Fuse program.

“It’s rare to find the level of detail provided regarding prerequisites and course maps outlining semester-by-semester requirements at both the participating colleges and at USF, as well as the advising and support Fuse offers,” Howard said.

Fuse graduation pathways are created with input from faculty, students and the community to ensure programs meet labor market demands and that jobs await graduates. The most recent addition to the lineup of programs is the bachelor’s degree in supply chain management.

“The supply chain management degree is a direct response to the needs of our state and global community,” Howard said. “The pandemic shed light on the need for more students in this field to fill jobs in this in-demand career.”

Michael Malcom

Michael Malcolm, Fuse graduate

Eligible participants can also apply for the Fuse scholarship, a micro-grant funded by the Helios Foundation and matching donors, which is managed by LEAP Community Foundation Tampa Bay. The scholarship offers eligible students $1,500 per semester, distributed in the fall and spring semesters. Michael Malcolm graduated from the Fuse program in 2020 after transferring from Hillsborough Community College  – one of the hundreds of students who have received scholarship assistance.

“The scholarship went a long way toward easing the financial burden on me and my family,” said Malcolm, who’s applying for USF’s accelerated nursing program.

Sulaiman is now preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test in pursuit of her ultimate dream of becoming a physician. 

“Fuse was instrumental in shaping my journey,” she said, “and I am so grateful for the opportunities and growth it provided.” 

More information about participating colleges can be found here.

  • USF President Rhea Law and presidents from the Florida College System renew the Fuse agreement.

  • USF student Nathan Poinsette speaks about his experience in the Fuse program.

  • Members of the USF community celebrate the Fuse renewal at a signing ceremony in the Marshall Student Center.


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