The Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018 was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on Sunday, March 11, and establishes the accreditation consolidation of the University of South Florida System. For a timeline of key dates related to the USF System accreditation consolidation, please refer to the Timeline.
Each campus will retain its current name, have a regional chancellor and preserve its individual identity. Additionally, each campus shall have a Campus Board – the Chair of the USF Board of Trustees shall appoint seven residents of Pinellas County to the USFSP Campus Board and four residents of Manatee County and three residents of Sarasota County to the USFSM Campus Board. A member of the USF BOT who resides in Pinellas County will be one of the seven appointees and shall serve as Chair of the USFSP Campus Board. A member of the USF BOT who resides in Sarasota or Manatee County will be one of the seven appointees and shall serve as Chair of the Campus Board at USFSM.
The separate accreditation at USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee will be merged on or before July 1, 2020, into a single accreditation. At no time will any USF institution risk losing accreditation.
While we are still early in the process, single accreditation could present new opportunities including:
- The expansion of graduate research and doctoral opportunities to all USF campuses.
- The success of every USF student will contribute equally toward maintaining USF’s standing as a national top-tier research institution, a Preeminent Research University in Florida and to achieve our vision to become an AAU institution. Therefore, each student, regardless of location, will benefit from the investments necessary toward achieving and maintain each of those goals.
- All students attending any USF campus will have the opportunity to access every degree program offered across the entire USF System. The instruction in many of those programs could be offered on the local campus or through more convenient delivery systems.
- The need for students to transfer between USF institutions to seek the educational opportunities of their dreams will no longer be required. Upon admission to a unified USF, students would be free to move between campuses at their pleasure and at a time that best suits their educational and personal needs.
All USF students, regardless of the campus where their primary instruction takes place, will graduate with a diploma from the University of South Florida, a nationally recognized and highly ranked Preeminent Research University.
Under a single, unified accreditation, the benefits of graduate research and doctoral opportunities would be available at all USF campuses. The expansion of these programs will be shaped in response to the local needs and market demands of each community.
The USF Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force will make recommendations to the USF Board of Trustees to improve service to students by phasing out the separate accreditations of each USF System campus.
The Task Force will consist of 13 members to be appointed:
- One member will be appointed by the BOG Chair who will serve as the Chair of the Task Force;
- Two members will be appointed by the President of the Senate;
- Two members will be appointed by the Speaker of the House;
- Two members will be appointed by the USF BOT Chair;
- One member will be appointed by each Chair of the Campus Boards for USFSP and USFSM;
- One student will be appointed by the USF Alumni Association;
- In addition, the President of USF or her designee and the Regional Chancellors of USFSP and USFSM shall also serve as members of the Task Force.
- The Task Force must be staffed by USF personnel from each campus, as assigned by the USF BOT.
Please refer to the Task Force Members page for a list of the members and their bios.
The Task Force must submit a report to the USF BOT that includes recommendations on the following:
- Degrees in programs of strategic emphasis to be offered at USFSP and USFSM and timeline for implementation;
- Maintaining the unique identity of each campus and an assessment of whether a separate educational mission is beneficial to each campus;
- Maintaining faculty input from all campuses;
- Developing the research capacity at each campus;
- Equitable distribution of programs and resources to establish pathways to admission for those students who require summer bridge programming and financial aid;
- Establishing budget transparency and accountability regarding student fees among campuses – including USF Health;
- Developing and delivering integrated academic programs, student and faculty governance, and admin services to serve the students, faculty and staff at the USF College of Marine Science, USFSM and USFSP.
By March 15, 2019, the USF BOT, after reviewing the Task Force’s recommendations, must adopt and submit an implementation plan that, at a minimum:
- Establishes a timeline for consolidating accreditation by June 30, 2020 so that there is no lapse in institutional accreditation for any campus.
- Minimizes disruption for a student attending any USF campus so that consolidation of accreditation doesn’t impede a student’s ability to graduate in four years.
- Requires that no later than July 1, 2020, USF, including all campuses and other component units of the university, operates under a single institutional accreditation.
- Requires that on each regularly scheduled submission date, subsequent to July 1, 2020, USF shall report consolidated data for all campuses and students to IPEDS and the BOG.
On or before July 1, 2020, USF, including all campuses and other component units of the university, must operate under a single institutional accreditation.
The BOT must publish on its website a biennial regional impact report, beginning on July 1, 2021, which details the increased USF investments in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties and increased opportunities for students in those counties.