SACSCOC approves USF consolidation plan

The university received the green light to consolidate its three campuses on Friday afternoon. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approved USF’s plan to consolidate its three campuses — Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee — into a singularly-accredited institution on Friday afternoon.

The Substantive Change Prospectus, a document highlighting major changes within USF as a consolidated institution, was submitted on March 12. The document was reviewed by SACSCOC during its meeting June 8-11.

With SACSCOC’s approval, the university will be operating under one umbrella after former Gov. Rick Scott signed the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act requiring the consolidation of USF’s three campuses by July 1. 

The law, established in 2018, requires that the three campuses operate under a single institutional accreditation from USF’s accrediting body, the SACSCOC.

Under SACSCOC’s accreditation, the university is required to provide equal access toall student services once consolidation goes into effect. This means that students will have the chance to explore many of the resources available across all campuses, including the option to take classes as well as attend events at different campuses. 

“Today marks an historic milestone for our university,” USF President Steven Currall said in a systemwide email on Friday afternoon.  “Consolidation will provide USF students and faculty on all of our campuses with access to a broader array of opportunities and now every USF student will earn their degree from a Preeminent State Research University.”

As a consolidated institution, the main campus will be located in Tampa while St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee will become branch campuses.

Following the prospectus’ approval, the SACSCOC committee will schedule a site visit later this year or early next year, according to Currall. The visit will include all three campuses as well as the Morsani College of Medicine in downtown Tampa.

In the systemwide email, Currall highlighted the milestone as USF prepares to officially consolidate its three campuses by July 1.

“I am grateful for the many valuable contributions and input from faculty, staff and students representing each campus, the USF Board of Trustees, the Florida Board of Governors, members of the state legislature and other stakeholders from across the Tampa Bay region and the State of Florida,” Currall said.