University of South Florida

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Updated August 7, 2020

The University of South Florida grew out of a need for a new college in the southern portion of the state. Though officially founded in 1956, it didn't open for four more years. Those classes met in a series of newer buildings, including some used as part of a military base during World War II. The state approved plans just a few years later to call the school USF. Though it is the main campus in the USF school system, the other schools, which are located in Sarasota and St. Petersburg, operate independently of that main campus. USF uses a traditional semester calendar and operates four semesters a year. Most students take classes in the fall, winter and spring semesters, but they can also take classes in the summer.

U.S. News & World Report issues rankings every year of the top programs and colleges in the United States. It recognized USF as being one of the best schools in the country and one of the top public colleges in the nation. Some of its programs that the publication ranked include criminology, library and information sciences, chemistry, computer science, psychology and social work. According to Washington Monthly, USF also ranks within the top 100 of all colleges operating in the country.

University of South Florida Accreditation Details

Since its foundation, the University of South Florida sought as many types of accreditation as it could because it knew that this type of recognition would appeal to more students. USF obtained its primary form of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). When the SACS grants accreditation, it requires that all schools apply for renewal at least once within the next 10 years. USF continues maintaining its accreditation from that organization. Students interested in some programs offered by the college may want to find out if that program has accreditation as well. The USF programs in computer science, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering and all other engineering programs have accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET). Other programs have accreditation from the following organizations:

  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
  • Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council on Social Work Education Office of Social work Accreditation
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • American Psychological Association
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

University of South Florida Application Requirements

While other colleges have deadlines in place and restrictions regarding when students can submit applications and when they can enroll, the University of South Florida has a rolling admissions policy. This means that students can apply and begin classes much faster. USF uses its own online application system, which is available on its website. It asks that students select a password and register an email address with the site. They can then log in and out of the system to complete the application over a few days or weeks. The university also charges a $30 application fee that students can pay via credit card or debit card when submitting the application.

USF uses several factors when deciding whether to admit a student. The university looks at the grades the student received and the curriculum that student followed. It gives priority to those who completed advanced placement courses, those who graduated with honors and those who followed a college prep curriculum. A college prep curriculum generally includes several years of English, math, life sciences, social sciences and foreign language classes. Those life sciences courses should include one or more labs too. USF also asks that students submit official scores from a standardized test. Those who have a good likelihood of doing well in college have a better chance of acceptance.

Tuition and Fees

As with most colleges, the University of South Florida charges one rate for residents and a separate rate for non-residents. Those who meet residency requirements pay a tuition rate of around $6,400 every two semesters. Non-residents pay more than $17,000 for those same two semesters. USF estimates that students will pay around $9,400 to live on campus, which includes a room in one of the dormitories or complexes and a meal plan. Students typically pay around $500 a semester for textbooks and any supplies they need.

The Veterans Services Department on campus helps students who served in the military find out more about their benefits and how they can pay for college. Other students can turn to the Department of Financial Aid for help. Financial aid is only available to those who complete the FAFSA first. More than 25,000 of those taking classes at USF receive some type of aid. Admissions scholarships are available for all students, but those who demonstrate more financial need may qualify for additional scholarships. The USF Foundation offers other scholarships to students studying certain topics, those who earned good grades in high school and those who meet other requirements. Students can also apply for grants, loans and campus jobs.

Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation

The Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation is a research institute maintained by the University of South Florida. Students do research into how to better treat drug addiction and how to stop addiction from spreading. Undergraduate students enrolled in specific programs through USF can do internships at the center, work on upcoming research projects or participate in new studies. Some students spend an entire semester working for the center during the summer session. Students who already have an undergraduate degree may apply for a fellowship position or a research assistant position. These programs give students a stipend that helps them pay for their personal expenses and cover the cost of tuition while they work for the center.

Multiple departments and colleges within the university offer learning opportunities through the center too. Students studying arts and sciences, education or even marine biology may work in the center. The University of South Florida recommends that any student interested in working at the Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation as an undergraduate or graduate student talk with an admissions counselor.

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