USF path to pre-eminence changes again


Gov. Rick Scott changed USF’s quest for pre-eminence back to the original plan.

Scott vetoed a higher education reform bill Wednesday night that returned one of the pre-eminence benchmark to a six-year graduation rate at 70 percent. USF is currently at 67 percent six-year graduation rate, according to university spokeswoman Lara Wade.

“We’re still evaluating because it only happened last night,” Wade said Thursday. “We’re still on track to meet (pre-eminence) next year.”

Over the past legislative session, senators moved the benchmark twice. The first time changed the requirement to a four-year graduation rate at 50 percent. Then, in a last-minute extended session, the requirement was moved to 60 percent.

The university expected to meet that requirement by 2019 to receive funding for the 2020 school year.

USF is classified as emerging pre-eminent, along with UCF, and currently splits a pool of $10 million in state funding. However, the pre-eminent universities of UF and FSU split a pool of $48 million in state funding. 

In a Board of Trustees meeting in May, Provost Ralph Wilcox said the additional funding provided by pre-eminence would go toward hiring more professors.