No More Soar in 4? Update


Riley Hazel, News and Features Editor

This story has been corrected to reflect the fact the suspension of the FGCU Soar in 4 program is not official.

FGCU President Mike Martin released an update this afternoon on Soar in 4, after the university announced last week that it was looking at suspending the program for a re-evaluation of its current funding source.

“We will recommend to the FGCU Board of Trustees that we honor our commitment to those currently pursuing their degree at FGCU,” President Martin said in an email.

Students who graduate in the classes of 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 and who meet the program’s requirements will receive a refund of their first year of tuition.

For freshmen who attend FGCU in the Fall of 2022, there will likely be a change to the Soar in 4 program, according to President Martin’s email.

“I never expected the program to last forever,” Ian Scott, a third-year student at FGCU, said. “As long as current students and those who are currently applying receive their funds, I’m happy.”

The program was launched in 2016 when the university’s graduation rate was at 22 percent and at the time FGCU hoped it would cultivate a campus culture that valued graduating on time.

Soar in 4 has since begun to strain funding for other programs on campus. According to Pamela McCabe, FGCU’s Coordinator of University Communications & Media Relations, 233 graduates received the tuition rebate last year, totaling a $1.9 million payout.

“It appears that there was no long-term plan to finance this program, and FGCU has utilized non-state and private funding sources,” President Martin said. “Over the last few years, we have made substantial investments in student success, and our four-year graduation rate now exceeds 41 percent.”

The university’s Board of Trustees will be discussing the program’s operations at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 14 in the Cohen Student Union Ballroom. The event will allow for public comments from students and the community.