FGCU grads could earn back freshman year tuition with Gov. Scott’s ‘Ready, Set, Work’


Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited FGCU to discuss tax breaks on textbooks during a press conference on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. (EN Photo / Kelli Krebs)

Eagles who land a job within a year of graduating might get back the money they spent on tuition and fees during their freshman year.
This might be possible thanks to Gov. Rick Scott’s “Ready, Set, Work” challenge. FGCU was the first state school to agree to participate in the initiative, which pushes public Florida universities to reach a goal of 100 percent graduation rates for the school’s top two majors. In FGCU’s case, that’s Mass Communication/Media Studies and Business Administration and Management. Students who obtain this could be given back the money they spent on tuition and fees their freshman year at FGCU.
“Gov. Scott’s challenge provides an opportunity for the university to redouble its efforts to attract, retain and reward students for graduating in four years or less and securing employment,” President Wilson Bradshaw said.
While the challenge was announced in December, it wasn’t until the Florida Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21 in Tallahassee that Bradshaw announced his plan of rewarding employed graduates.
According to Bradshaw, the challenge will consist of specific criteria students must follow in order to be qualified to earn back their first year tuition expenses, which for the 2015-16 school year, costs $6,318.
“Those criteria are still being developed,” Bradshaw said. “They will include completing their undergraduate degree at FGCU in four years or less and obtaining a job within six months of graduation. This will save them money and provide them much needed startup funds as they begin their journey on the path to a successful career as contributing members of the state of Florida.”
According to the challenge’s announcement page on www.flgov.com, the current graduation/employment data from the Florida Board of Governors revealed that the average full-time employment rate for public university graduates within their top majors is about 60 percent.
To make this vision a reality, entering freshman will be provided with a new career counseling service to better prepare them for finding the right major, staying on that track and graduating on time. The program will include a web-based management system that will assist students with guiding their academic progress.
“The plan entails specialized career counseling for incoming freshmen to help them choose a course of study that will prepare them for work and a career,” Bradshaw said. “While the focus will be on communication and management degrees, FGCU’s goal is to see 100 percent job attainment for all majors.”
The plan will cost the university an estimated $1.5 million. This could either raise or lower, depending on the number of students who meet the qualifications.
This initiative won’t be possible without the continuing efforts of FGCU’s faculty and staff.
“There is nothing more important to our professors than high quality instruction,” Bradshaw said. “Our faculty have been and will continue to employ effective teaching and learning strategies in the classroom, thereby enhancing student success.”