System Consolidation



In March 2018, Governor Rick Scott signed the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, requiring the USF System – composed of University of South Florida Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee – to consolidate accreditations under one umbrella. The USF System now will begin a planning process to implement the law.

The USF System’s highest priority remains the success of our students by providing a world-class education. While a single, unified accreditation will elevate the success of all students and faculty, the law also has accounted for key measures that will uphold the distinctiveness of each campus, its leadership and budget while providing transparent accountability across the entire university and its campuses.

The consolidated accreditation does not go into effect immediately; rather, it will be officially completed on July 1, 2020. During the transition, all campuses will retain their accreditation, and at no time will any USF campus lapse in accreditation.

The USF Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force was established into law and will make recommendations to the USF Board of Trustees on how to improve service to students by phasing out the separate accreditations of each USF System campus. The Task Force must submit a report to the USF BOT that includes recommendations on the following:

  • Identification of specific degrees in programs of strategic significance, including health care, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other program priorities to be offered at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee and the timeline for the development and delivery of programs on each campus;
  • Maintaining the unique identity of each campus and an assessment of whether a separate educational mission is beneficial to the future of each campus;
  • Maintaining faculty input from all campuses during the review and development of general education requirements to reflect the distinctive identity of each campus;
  • Developing the research capacity at each campus;
  • Equitable distribution of programs and resources to establish pathways to admission for all students who require bridge programming and financial aid; and
  • Establishing budget transparency and accountability regarding the review and approval of student fees among campuses, including fee differentials and athletic fees, to enable the identification of the equitable distribution of resources to each campus, including the University of South Florida Health.
  • Developing and delivering integrated academic programs, student and faculty governance, and administrative services to better serve the students, faculty, and staff at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee, and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

In June 2019, 

Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 7071: Workforce Education, which adds clarifying language to require that USFSP and USFSM maintain branch campus status when the accreditation of each campus is consolidated into a single accreditation for USF campuses and defines “branch campus” as an:

  • Instructional site located geographically apart and independent of the main campus of the institution. A location is independent of the main campus if the location
    • (a) Is permanent in nature;
    • (b) Offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized educational credential;
    • (c) Has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and
    • (d) Has its own budgetary and hiring authority.

The process is governed by a set of guiding principles that ensure USF maintains its accreditation, strengthens its stature as a Preeminent Research University and preserves the distinctive identities of each of the three campuses.  

Please refer to the FAQ page for a list of common questions about the new law.