Florida Polytechnic to provide free tuition for 2014 inaugural class

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Florida Polytechnic University is looking to raise up to $9 million in scholarship funds, which would allow the first class of the new school to attend without tuition.

The Board of Trustees approved Monday a scholarship program for its first ever 2014 class, with the option to expand the program for other classes.

“We are a new university with high academic standards,” said Florida Poly’s Chief Operating Officer Ava Parker. “We believe these scholarships will help us attract the high caliber students who we know will be successful in our rigorous academic programs.”

Incoming full-time undergraduate students to the new University, which split from the University of South Florida system in 2012, will receive $5,000 scholarships per year for the first three years, and $3,200 in the fourth year. 

Freshman students who enter carrying 30 credit hours per academic year are eligible for the four-year scholarship, valued at $18,200. Florida Poly will administer the award toward undergraduate tuition and fees, estimated at $5,029 for the 2014-15 academic years.

For students taking 24 credit hours in an academic year, the grant’s value will be $9,300 per year for two years.

“Funding student scholarships and University advancement is a priority for the Foundation Board,” said FL Poly Foundation Board Chair Cindy Alexander in a statement. “Though the goal for the comprehensive campaign has not yet been determined, the Foundation leadership is committed to its success.”

Florida Polytechnic became Florida’s 12th public university, featuring a distinctive curriculum focusing on applied research, technology and engineering, after former state Sen. JD Alexander pushed a bill through the Florida Legislature without a committee hearing.

The University already planned to break off from USF, but Alexander’s bill, which provided $33 million for the split, made the move immediate. In fall 2014, the newly independent University will open its campus in Lakeland, as part of Florida’s High Tech Corridor with a $134 million Innovation, Science and Technology building off Interstate 4 and the east end of the Polk Parkway.

The school recently hired four faculty members, expecting to have 45-50 faculty members in place by the fall.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range included covering news, local government and nightclub reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for an online metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013 and lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.