C4 Presents New Student Opportunities, Degree Flexibility



Students are flocking back in record numbers to the Sarasota-Manatee area this semester with the ability to gain new post-secondary opportunities presented by a collaborative effort between area colleges and universities. The Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast, or C4, connects with local colleges on a mission to maximize student and community benefits presented by the mix of colleges in the area, including New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. The academic year promises to be big, showing record-shattering numbers across many campuses in the local area. The USFSM campus boasts more than 1,900 students this semester, Ringling College, with 1,400 students, has a record 450 new incoming freshmen, while the State College of Florida hosts nearly 9,300 students this semester.

C4 cultivates numerous student-orientated ideas toward an expansion of the high quality education already available at these area institutions. Dr. Laurey T. Stryker, initiative manager for C4, has direct oversight to the integration of cross-registration within area schools. The cross-registration system is designed for those students whose specific academic paths veer from those courses available at the student’s home campus, allowing students the option to achieve their academic goals with greater ease by enrolling in courses available at different campuses while pursuing one composite degree. “It helps the students so they don’t have to leave the area in search of available courses and it helps the local state colleges become more competitive with its students who might try to leave, so it’s a win-win,” says Stryker.

This pilot program allows eligible students to be accepted on a space-available basis after the host institution’s regularly enrolled or continuing students have registered, allowing for an extensive selection of courses available across the entirety of campuses, as well as new professors and faculty. The cooperation among the colleges offers students greater learning opportunities, attracting and retaining students in fields of study previously unobtainable. Cross-registration programs are being piloted this fall with full implementation planned for the upcoming spring semester.

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