Many Paths to One Gator Nation - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Many Paths to One Gator Nation

Many Paths to One Gator Nation

Born and raised in Bamberg, Germany, 38-year-old Chris Rapozo moved to Tampa, FL to work as a full-time paralegal and raise a family. Wanting to pivot his career from law to public relations, Chris sought a flexible and accessible way to earn a University of Florida bachelor’s degree while balancing work and fatherhood from the Tampa Bay area. That dream soon became a reality for Chris when he applied and was admitted to the University of Florida’s online undergraduate degree program — UF Online.

“I love UF, and there was no way for me to become a Gator while living in Tampa unless it was online. When I found out about UF Online and the possibility of becoming a Florida Gator from my hometown of Tampa, I was elated and jumped at the opportunity.”

– Chris Rapozo, UF graduate, B.A. Public Relations

Making the Impossible Possible

In 2022, students are leading busy, productive lives that also thrive on flexibility. As the University of Florida continues to lead the way as both
a top university and a welcoming learning community, the number of pathways for students to earn a UF degree is expanding. Value, quality, and reputation are important to students who deserve tailored and agile online pathways fully embedded in a university community. With UF Online, the opportunity to join the Gator Nation and earn the same degree as UF’s residential students without ever having to come to campus is possible.

Through its dedication to student success and innovative practices, the University of Florida has earned recognition for its exemplary online undergraduate programs. The U.S. News & World Report 2022 has officially ranked UF Online the No. 1 online bachelor’s degree program in the nation. The news comes at the heels of the University of Florida being named the nation’s No. 5 public university. This achievement was made possible through the ambition and effort of the entire campus community and its students. With an unwavering commitment to accessible, high-quality education for students, UF Online is setting a new standard for what a modern university can accomplish in online education.

Putting Students First

The U.S. News & World Report’s annual national rankings factor in several key metrics that measure a high-quality education and student experience. The 2022 U.S. News & World Report calculated rankings based on student engagement, services and technologies, faculty credentials and training, and expert opinion. Student engagement, which encompasses graduation and retention rates alongside student involvement, is weighed the most heavily when determining national online bachelor’s program rankings.

UF ensures an engaging online classroom experience with UF’s faculty teaching and designing each online course alongside a team of expert instructional designers. The design and delivery of UF Online courses focus on engagement in three important dimensions: faculty to student engagement, student to faculty engagement, and student to student engagement. Faculty credentials and course availability also played a pivotal role in the No. 1 national ranking. Over 680 unique courses taught by 610 different primary instructors were designed and offered to students through UF Online.

In addition, outside of the classroom, UF Online student engagement is fostered through interactive student events, services, experiential learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, and the ambassador program. With an average class size of 28 students, UF Online promotes student engagement with classmates and faculty in each online course, studio, and lab. A low student-to- advisor ratio also cultivates student success through dedicated and personal academic advising from application to graduation.

Students are supported by 24/7 tech support, full UF library access and services, writing workshops, resume support, career placement assistance, tutoring, and more. As a result of committed student services and engagement, student retention rate rose to 88% as new students either re-enrolled or graduated within the next 12 months, which is a notable achievement across all online programs nationwide.

With the lowest in-state tuition among the top ten programs and 40% lower tuition/fees for students versus campus rates, UF Online has been recognized for its affordability and low debt for graduates.

Sustained state investments and the program’s commitment to keeping college affordable have resulted in continued decreases in average student debt and in the number of students borrowing to pay for college.

Continuing the Commitment to Military Veterans and Service Members

The University of Florida has a proud and longstanding history of supporting students who are veterans, active duty, national guard, reserves, and their affiliated family members. In recognition of this legacy, UF ensures UF Online is a robust and welcoming program for service members, along with earning the No. 2 ranking in the nation as the best online bachelor’s program for veterans pursuing higher education.

As a designated Yellow Ribbon School, UF provides special tuition rates for service members regardless of their location. UF Online is proud to offer distinct and robust financial and academic support services to students from all branches of the military via the UF Collegiate Veterans Success Center, Office of Student Veteran Success, and the Collegiate Veterans Society. This support is also extended to their spouses and qualifying family members.

“It’s more than just a degree. Graduating from UF means that you’re a part of an alumni base that has multiple academic and business leaders in the world. You’re a part of something that’s much bigger than yourself.”

See Also

– Alan Thompson, Veteran and UF graduate, B.S. Business

Gator Pathways: Many Paths to One Gator Nation

By paving the path to 25 UF degree programs via online, UF Online continues expanding access to students who’ve always dreamt of becoming a Florida Gator. As UF continues to remove barriers and forge pathways for future Gators via UF Online, UF now partners with employers like Amazon, and with a new Florida college network to support students who wish to benefit from these pathways. Now more than ever, a UF degree is within reach and has become increasingly attainable for those juggling other obligations or leading busy lives through the Gator Pathways program.

Launched in 2021, the Gator Pathways program seeks to take the burden off of students as they seamlessly navigate UF academic programs and curriculum with their employers or state network colleges. By forging these partnerships and pathways together with state colleges and employers, UF Online allows students more time to focus on their studies, families, jobs, and other responsibilities rather than figuring out these academic and benefit programs on their own.

The Gator Nation Knows No Bounds

Given its dedicated focus on accessibility in higher education, UF Online is helping students connect to the Gator Nation no matter the distance. UF Online currently supports Gators who learn and engage from 48 states, Washington D.C., and 16 countries around the world. Flexible online education is expanding opportunities
for students to pursue a prestigious UF degree without compromising their current responsibilities and lifestyles.

Over 4,500 Gators have graduated with their UF bachelor’s degree, earned via UF Online. What was previously impossible is now possible as Gators pursue a prestigious UF degree directly alongside UF faculty and with one another in an engaging global learning community. The future is bright at the University of Florida and across the Gator Nation.

By UF Online.

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