Your Open-Access State College

Guest Correspondence

Image courtesy SCF

At State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, we are dedicated to the mission of providing an engaging and accessible learning environment to all. We are an open-access institution where anyone willing to do the hard work it takes to pursue their academic goals is welcomed and supported as part of the SCF community.

SCF has a tradition of delivering on our promises responsibly and transparently, we boldly engage our partners to achieve the dynamic future we envision, and we define best practices and create opportunity with forethought. We serve our region with integrity, collaboration, innovation and inclusivity.

SCF serves more than 25,000 individuals annually, with an estimated 10,000 more coming to our campuses for events hosted by third-party collaborators. It has been my purpose since becoming President in 2013 to expand access to SCF through every avenue possible; partnerships, services, academic programming, multipurpose facilities and grants.

Our dual enrollment programs allow qualified high school students to enroll in select college courses satisfying requirements for high school graduation and an associate degree at no cost. Gator Engineering at State College of Florida is a collaboration between the University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and SCF. The program allows a cohort of students to begin their coursework at SCF and gain admission to UF as early as after their first spring semester. Our collaboration with FleetForce Truck Driving School is responsive to the national shortage of commercially licensed drivers and promotes high-wage employment.

SCF’s Collegiate Schools in Bradenton and Venice afford local students a unique dual enrollment program with an opportunity to complete an associate degree while receiving their high school diploma. Our summer and spring camps expose elementary, middle and high school children to the excitement of higher education. SCF’s Summer Bridge, Tampa Bay Bridge to Baccalaureate and College Reach-Out programs aim to increase the number of low-income, educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in postsecondary education and increase the likelihood of their success once in college. Go Live with SCF Online, SCF’s Weekend College and Flex Start courses allow individuals to take classes when convenient.

Responsive to emerging trends and growing demands in the local workforce, SCF has consistently expanded our academic programming to provide rapid credentialing, associate and baccalaureate degrees, certificates and training. Last year, we added three new associate in science degrees in music production, business analytics and hospitality and tourism, and two baccalaureate degrees in elementary education and exceptional student education. In total, SCF offers 31 associate in science degrees, 36 college credit certificates, and seven workforce-oriented baccalaureate degrees.

SCF Bradenton’s Library & Learning Center provides the region with a technology-driven, collaborative learning environment that mirrors private industry practices and provides us with an adaptable platform that can respond to future workforce needs. 

The 26 West Center hosts a suite of innovative services dedicated to making entrepreneurship, small business growth and careers in technology accessible to students and residents of the Suncoast region. For example, SCF’s Coding Academy teaches the skills needed to launch a career in a high-demand technology job in less than six months. Anyone can start training for coding, cloud computing, digital marketing and cybersecurity careers.

Our new Studio for the Performing Arts expands access to the fine and performing arts with a 150-seat recital hall, choir rehearsal room, percussion rehearsal suite, music library and individual practice rooms. 

Through grants such as TRIO Student Support Services, Title III and Child Care Access Means Parents in School, received from the Florida and U.S. Department of Education, SCF is “paving academic pathways for student success” by reducing the number of barriers that prevent many from pursuing higher education. These grants provide access to expanded student support services, financial assistance, free access to college-prep classes and tools for a guided degree pathway. 

The combination of these partnerships, services, academic programs, multipurpose facilities and grants allows us to serve credit or non-credit seeking students, individuals looking to continue their education or perhaps reinvent themselves, and those who need exposure to the possibilities of what higher education can offer – opportunity.  

When we say we’re open access, one needs only to apply. At SCF, we meet you where you are. We’re everyone’s college.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is President at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

Image courtesy SCF

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