SFSC Poised to Meet Governor’s $10,000 Challenge
“We certainly accept Governor Scott’s $10,000 challenge with enthusiasm,” said Dr. Norm Stephens, president, South Florida State College. “The governor’s challenge is very achievable for students attending SFSC.”
Dr. Stephens’ statement comes on the heels of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s challenge issued Monday to Florida’s state colleges to create bachelor’s degree programs that would cost no more than $10,000. His challenge was intended to address rising college costs and student debt.
“Our goal is to make it possible for any student to pursue a bachelor’s degree through SFSC for less than $10,000,” Dr. Stephens said. SFSC is one of 22 of Florida’s 28 state colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees. The college’s first class in its Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management program began last August, and the college plans to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing and elementary education in the near future.
Last year, 71 percent of tuition and fees collected at SFSC were not paid by students, but covered by scholarships, grants, third-party payers, and financial aid. “Using this percentage, the average tuition and fees paid by students for a four-year degree at SFSC would be approximately $4,000,” Dr. Stephens said. “Of course, some would pay much more than this while others could complete a degree without paying any tuition or fees. The actual amount depends upon many factors, most of which are under the control of the student.”
Besides the relative low cost of working toward a bachelor’s degree at SFSC, students have the convenience of being close to home and jobs. A majority of SFSC’s students work while attending college. Many are married with children and have family responsibilities.
“One of the best strategies available to students to reduce their higher education expense is to take dual enrollment courses while in high school,” Dr. Stephens said. “Many SFSC students take advantage of these courses which count toward high school graduation and give them college credit as well.”
“Additionally, excellent high school students are eligible for Bright Futures scholarships, and the SFSC Foundation helps hundreds of students each year to pursue their education. The SFSC Foundation also purchases Florida Prepaid Tuition grants for students enrolled in the Take Stock in Children program. About 160 students participate in this program at any given time.”
SFSC students are advised to apply for student loans only as a last resort. “To avoid the need for student loans, we will explore all other options including Pell Grants, veterans’ grants, scholarships, certain waivers, and third-party grants,” Dr. Stephens said.
“The college is perfectly poised to meet the governor’s challenge and, at the same time, provide the best quality education to all of its students,” he said.