Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University

Florida’s newest state university, Florida Polytechnic, is set to begin classes next month. In its last meeting before the school’s official opening, the Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees on Monday approved a modified scholarship model for the 2015-2016 school year. The new scholarship will kick in after the university initially offers a $5,000 scholarship to all full-time undergraduate students this school year.

Natalie Ekdahl

Choosing the right college or university is usually a big decision for most students, but choosing an untested one was an even bigger decision for Edison Collegiate High School Senior Natalie Ekdahl.

When she told her friends where she was going she says,  “most of them asked what it was, they’d never heard about it. But a few of them, they were excited about it and had heard good things about it too.”

Florida’s newest public university wants to admit its first class by August 2014.  The school made its case before the Florida Board of Governors Wednesday.

Florida Polytechnic University is not eligible for federal financial aid until it’s accredited. That’s not set to happen until 2016. Board of Governors members like Chairman Dean Colson question whether the school can recruit the 500 students it wants for its inaugural class, and retain them.


Several hundred people gathered Tuesday to celebrate the construction of Florida Polytechnic University's signature building, designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava.  Participants took a break from intense political wrangling to mark a milestone in the school's early stages.

Florida’s newest public university is fighting to keep its independence. University officials gave a long-awaited update to the state’s university governing board Thursday, but questions still abound over what will happen to the fledgling school, which is still in the start-up phase.

A House education committee has moved controversial bills like one that would give parents a say in the fate of failing public schools. Another would let charter schools move into unused public school buildings. Both proposals are now heading to the chamber floor but could conflict with Senate ideas.

Also up in the air is the fate of Florida’s newest university.

Florida Board of Governors

Whether Florida will have 11 or 12 public universities is up in the air after the state’s newest school was left out of the budget of the Senate committee overseeing education.

Florida Polytechnic University sprung from the University of South Florida’s polytech program over the opposition of that schools faculty, staff and students. Supporters of Polytech argued the school wouldn’t need any additional funding, but a few months ago Polytech officials floated the idea of requesting an extra $25 million, which was later pulled. 

Chris Urso / TBO.com

House Speaker Will Weatherford is working to clarify remarks he made on the state of Florida Polytechnic University.   Weatherford spoke with the Tampa Tribune’s editorial board earlier in the week and is quoted as calling the school a "disaster".

The speaker says he didn’t call the school itself a disaster, but was describing a plan by school officials to ask state lawmakers for another $25 million. That request has since been withdrawn.

Board of Governors member Ava Parker has resigned her position on the board to take a job at the state’s newest public university.

Parker is one of the longest serving members on the BOG, which oversees the state public university system, having been appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush shortly after the group was created through a 2002 constitutional amendment.

Governor Rick Scott extended her term for another year, which is up in January.

Robert Gidel
UF College of Education

UPDATED Wed., Aug. 1, at 6:36 p.m.

The formation of Florida’s 12th and newest public university, Florida Polytechnic, comes after protests from several lawmakers and many at the University of South Florida, whose polytech program is being phased out with the creation of the new university. On Wednesday in Orlando, Florida Polytech’s board of trustees met for the first time to learn just what’s expected of them and what challenges might get in their way.

Most of the seats on the board that will oversee the startup phase of the state’s newest university have been filled.

Governor Rick Scott has named four members to the board of trustees at Florida Polytechnic University. His choices include Bright House Cable Network Vice President Kevin Hyman.

Comcar Industries president Mark Bostick is also on the board.

The board that will oversee the state’s newest public university is beginning to take shape.

The Florida Board of Governors has announced that it has filled four of the five positions it gets to appoint to Florida Polytechnic University’s board of trustees. The first group includes Polk County Attorney Don Wilson and Richard Hallion -- a retired Air Force aerospace analyst who has also worked with NASA. Also on the board is former University of New England President Sandra Featherman, and former Board of Governors member Frank Martin.

A group of Polk County business leaders and state lawmakers came together Thursday to announce their support for the state’s newest public university. As that group met,  the board that oversees the university system announced it had received  more than three-dozen applications for seats on the board of trustees at the new school.

A few wrenches have been thrown into the plan to create Florida’s 12th state university. For example, not enough people are applying to be members of Florida Polytechnic University’s Board of Trustees and the cost of constructing the standalone university is over budget.

The plan is to convert the Lakeland campus of the University of South Florida into Florida Polytechnic University.

The process to create Florida’s 12th public university hit a few snags Wednesday, as a special Board of Governors panel got an update on how the creation of the new Florida Polytechnic University is progressing. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, the university could be in jeopardy. So far, not enough people have applied to serve on its Board of Trustees.

The state University System of Florida is looking for 13 people to head the state’s newest public university. The Florida Board of Governor’s announced Tuesday that it is now accepting applications for members to be appointed to the board that will govern Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.

Here’s part of what the Board of Governor’s is saying about its search process:

Governor Rick Scott says he thinks Florida’s new Polytechnic University will pay off in the long run. Lynn Hatter reports it was the Governor’s first public statements about the new school since approving its creation a few days ago.

The new Florida Polytechnic University comes at a time when the rest of the state’s universities are taking a $300 million dollar cut. Scott says it’s time for the universities to prioritize their programs and that the new university is part of that reorganization process.

Florida Polytechnic University will start its life as the newest state university on July 1st. It was created by allowing the University of South Florida’s polytechnic campus to become independent. But Lynn Hatter reports even though it has a name, it doesn’t have much else at this point.

Florida Polytechnic has no students, no buildings, no president, no administration and no board. What it does have is $33 million in state funding, some assets waiting to be transferred from its parent school, the University of South Florida, land, and the law that created it.

A Polytech-U is born!

Apr 20, 2012

Governor Rick Scott has approved a bill that could create Florida’s 12 public state university. Lynn Hatter reports the governor signed off on the proposal Friday that lets the University of South Florida’s Polytechnic Campus become an independent school.

Governor Rick Scott signed a bill pushed by Senate budget chief JD Alexander that grants the polytechnic campus immediate independence from its parent-school, USF.  The move comes after months of contentious debate over the future of the campus, which will now be known as Florida Polytechnic University.

Sitting on Governor Rick Scott’s desk are two proposals that could bring about big changes to Florida’s Higher Education System. Both measures were hotly debated during the 2012 legislative session and continue to be even now. Lynn Hatter reports one proposal would create a 12th public state university, and the other would let two schools break free of the state’s tuition caps.

If you ask students how they feel about tuition, the answer is pretty uniform.

A bill that would help create the state’s 12th public university is now in the hands of Governor Rick Scott. As Sascha Cordner reports, the bill’s most influential backer made a trip to Tallahassee to petition the Governor to approve his bill.

Senate Budget chief JD Alexander says he feels good about the discussion he had with Governor Rick Scott Thursday regarding his bill, Senate Bill 1994.

Alexander has been a huge advocate of splitting University of South Florida from its Polytechnic Campus, thus creating the state’s next public university.

 Florida lawmakers say a sluggish economy forced them to slash spending on health care and the state university system. They say a nearly $2 billion shortfall forced them to reassess priorities and eliminate about a thousand state jobs. However, James Call reports, lawmakers were able to find millions of dollars for members’ hometown projects.

House and Senate budget leaders have reached a deal on a plan to lead the University of South Florida’s Polytechnic campus to independence. The move has been spearheaded by Republican Senator JD Alexander, and over the opposition of USF’s main campus. Lynn Hatter reports under the deal, USF Polytech would become Florida Polytechnic University.