Turning the Tassel for a Next-Level Education - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Turning the Tassel for a Next-Level Education

Turning the Tassel for a Next-Level Education

From technical colleges to four-year universities, opportunities abound for students looking to further their education after high school in the Greater Tampa Bay area. 

Greater Tampa Bay has long been home to excellent higher education institutions. In recent years, however, that excellence and the opportunities with it have grown and are available to even more students.  

University of South Florida 

The University of South Florida, with campuses in Tampa and St. Petersburg, is one of the most well-known colleges in the area. It has almost 37,000 undergraduate students and more than 9,000 graduate students. It is also the fastest rising university according to U.S. News and World Report.  

“USF is proud to maintain its momentum as the fastest-rising university in America, public or private, over the last decade and a top 50 university,” said USF President Rhea Law. “This recognition is a testament to our exceptionally talented faculty, students and staff and reinforces the importance of USF’s role in our region.” 

The institution is a global research university and advances the lives of its students and community. It has a college student-faculty ratio of 22:1. Outside the classroom, students frequent College of the Arts events, explore the Contemporary Art Museum, or hang out in the campus’s botanical gardens, made up of more than 3,000 plants, animals and natural inhabitants. 

USF also has excellent graduate programs, where the students excel. Several of the programs are ranked among the best in the nation. 

Thirteen graduate programs made it on U.S. News’ ranking of the top 50 graduate programs in the nation, including No. 3 Industrial and Organizational Psychology, No. 16 Public Health, and Audiology and Criminology tied for No. 18. 

The Master of Science in Nursing degree and industrial engineering programs also entered the top 50 this year at No. 42 and No. 47. 

In addition to its stellar academic offerings, USF offers 17 men’s and women’s athletic teams that compete at the NCAA level. The teams include football, basketball, baseball, softball and soccer. 

  • More than 50,000 students at three different campuses 
  • Tampa 
  • St. Petersburg 
  • Sarasota-Manatee 
  • More than 200 majors and areas of study 
  • Regionally-accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Fast-rising university, according to U.S. News & World Report 
  • Economic impact of $6.02 billion 
  • Supports 68,704 jobs in the state 

University of Tampa 

The University of Tampa​​ is another popular university in GTB, and it offers hundreds of programs for undergraduate and graduate students. 

UT has 10,500 students and 200 different programs of study. It also boasts a faculty to student ratio of 17:1.  

The Princeton Review has named it one of the best undergraduate schools in the country. U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked it as a top regional university in the south as well as one of the most innovative schools.  

  • 10,500 students enrolled in fall of 2021 
  • More than 200 programs of study 
  • Almost 30 graduate programs offered 
  • Annual economic impact of $1.2 billion 
  • Regionally-accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  

Take it From the Students 

Sumair Singapuri 

  • Senior, Communication and Speech Studies Major, Business Administration and Professional Selling Minor 
  • Hometown: Mumbai, India 
  • “I love being a student at The University of Tampa because of its high-quality private education and diverse student population. Additionally, UT has great resources for connecting its students to many jobs in the Greater Tampa Bay Area and is a wealth of knowledge regarding experiential learning. Being a communication and speech studies major with minors in business administration, professional selling, and multiple leadership positions, I have the opportunity to graduate with a bright future ahead of me. UT was also my top choice because of its low faculty-to-student ratio, medium-sized campus, and the phenomenal Sykes College of Business.” 

Morgan Murray 

  • Senior, Marketing Major, Professional Selling Minor 
  • Hometown: Middlebury, CT 
  • “Being at the University of Tampa, it gives students a sense of community. With extensive on and off campus organizations, there are ample opportunities to get involved and network with other students. Making connections is something that I have found extremely helpful as I enter my senior year at UT.” 

Hillsborough Community College 

HCC is a local school that demands excellence from its students, staff, and faculty. It has served Hillsborough County since 1968 and has become the Sunshine State’s fifth-largest community college. It serves 42,000 students through its five campuses, online learning platform and three learning centers.  

Students have more than 200 academic majors and transfer tracks to choose from, including associate of art degrees, associate of science degrees and college certification programs.  

In addition to numerous career choices, student athletes can receive scholarships to four-year universities, which it has done time and again in tennis, softball, baseball and basketball. While some ace athletics, all HCC learners thrive off the school’s primary goals: student success, workforce development, sustainable operations, cultural inclusion and continuous improvement. 

  • More than 200 degree and certificate programs of study 
  • More than 42,000 students enrolled annually 
  • 84% of students stay in the community after graduating 
  • Regionally-accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  
  • Five campus locations and three centers in Hillsborough County 
  • Dale Mabry campus in the Westshore District of Tampa 
  • Brandon 
  • Plant City 
  • Ybor City 
  • Ruskin  
  • $1.3 billion annual economic impact to Hillsborough County 
  • College Factual rankings 
  • No. 135 of 2,576 Best Overall Colleges in the United States in 2022 
  • Top 10% in this ranking 
  • No. 2 of the 87 colleges in Florida 

Pasco-Hernando State College 

Pasco-Hernando State College was established about 50 years ago and has grown into one of the top schools in Florida. 

PHSC serves almost 10,000 students and offers more than 70 programs of study including associate degrees, bachelor degrees, career certificates, college credit certificates and an applied technology diploma. Its majors include business, health, industry, technology and public service. It also has athletic programs in baseball, basketball, cross country, softball and volleyball.  

“We take great pride in offering a good quality education close to home,” said PHSC President Tim Beard. 

Beard said the school is committed to being “a college for our community.” 

PHSC also offers numerous athletic offerings for students on seven different men’s and women’s teams: men’s baseball, basketball and cross country, as well women’s cross country, soccer, softball and volleyball. 

See Also

  • Approximately 10,000 students enrolled in Fall of 2020 
  • More than 70 different academic programs 
  • Regionally-accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  

Take it From the Students 

Ali Shariq 

  • Sophomore, President of the Student Government Association, pursuing Associate of Arts degree 
  • Hometown: New Port Richey 
  • “I chose PHSC because I was looking for personal attention and more one-on-one talks with the professors, and because PHSC is a state college I knew I could get that here rather than a lecture room full of 200 students. I enjoy all the events we have here and that I get to be a part of the student life and leadership. This place is really making me confident about my future and the choices I make.” 

Adelyas Reares 

  • Freshman 
  • Hometown: Gainesville, Florida 
  • “I am attending PHSC to further my education and play basketball. I am currently pursuing a business major. I chose PHSC because of the community involvement and commitment. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about different cultures and perspectives. I enjoy college because it helps me be more disciplined and prepared.” 

Elizabeth Forsell, Freshman 

  • Hometown: Spring Hill, Florida 
  • “I am attending PHSC to pursue a health science degree. I chose PHSC because of the value and proximity. I enjoy the small class sizes and personal connection with instructors. I like knowing friends from the area who also attend.” 

Saint Leo University 

Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 as Florida’s first Catholic institution. 

Saint Leo is a private college serving 18,000 students with 2,400 of them on campus. The college student-faculty ratio is 14:1 with an average class size of 19 students. It is ranked No. 29 out of 138 Top Regional Universities in the South and No. 39 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, out of the 136 Southern universities included in the ranking.  

Saint Leo offers up to 60 different major and minor programs from which students can choose. It has a residential campus and several education centers through GTB as well as online degree offerings.  

It also offers numerous athletic opportunities including basketball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, soccer, cross country, acrobatics and tumbling. 

  • 60 different major and minor programs 
  • 40 different degrees 
  • 98% of students receive financial aid 
  • Almost 100,000 alumni all over the world 
  • 67% of students live on campus 

St. Petersburg College 

St. Petersburg College (SPC) was founded in 1927 as St. Petersburg Junior College, Florida’s first two-year college.  

SPC educates over 38,000 students in over 180 degree and certificate programs of study. Their student–faculty ratio is 22:1 and class sizes ranging from 20 to 50 students. The college is ranked 91 for best online bachelor’s programs and 112 in best online bachelors in business programs, out of the more than 1,800 online programs observed by U.S. News.  

SPC was the first state college in Florida to offer a bachelor’s degree program. Titan alumni are ranked first for highest entry wages earned among Florida state community college graduates.  

  • 100% acceptance rate 
  • Ranked No. 571 for Best Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program 
  • Average Alumni starting salary $51,248 
  • 12 educational sites 
  • 186 degrees and certificate programs  

By Celia Goodyear.

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