Founded in 1957 and located in Panama City, Florida, Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its campus is located near the Gulf of Mexico, giving this community college a serene and naturally beautiful environment to foster intellectual pursuits and educational attainment. Gulf Coast’s statement of values reflects these academic pursuits, stating that “open expression of ideas, culture of honesty and trust, responsiveness to the community, [and] purposeful work” are cornerstones of this college’s focus. To this regard, the college has several satellite campuses, including the Gulf Franklin Center, North Bay Center, and the Tyndall Air Force Base.
The general academic requirements are more or less the same for all programs leading to an Associate of Art degree; these programs include humanities, social sciences, math, natural sciences, and composition courses.
GCSC has degree programs in the health sciences, natural sciences, technology, visual and performing arts, mathematics, public safety, and culinary management to name a few. There are also programs in education. Associate of Art degree programs are offered in accounting, marine biology, legal studies, advertising, and occupational therapy.
In general, AA degrees are used to fulfill the general education requirements of the first two years of college, and then the remaining time is used to focus on credits toward one’s major. That being the case, sometimes students will major in a subject outside of their field until they transfer to a four-year institution, fulfilling all major requirements during the last two years of study as an upperclassman.
Gulf Coast also offers what are known as workforce degree programs leading to either a certificate, diploma, or an Associate in Science. There are Associate of Science degrees in building construction technology, dental hygiene, and fire science technology, to name a few.
While Associate of Science degrees are not normally transferable, the AS in nursing, electronic engineering technology, and business administration and management are designed to transfer.
Students also have the option of choosing from one of the following Associate in Applied Science degree plans: hospitality management, early childhood education, crime scene technology, and sonography.
Applied technical diplomas include pharmacy technician, EMT, and surgical first assisting, for example. The certificate programs offered at Gulf Coast include medical office management and business data processing.
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College Reach Out Program
The College Reach Out Program, CROP, is a novel approach to attracting the attention of young adults in order to motivate them to attend college. To be eligible for the program, students must meet one economic criteria as well as one academic criteria. An individual can meet one of these economic criteria listed to be considered for the program: is a member of a lower economic family; is in the process of receiving public assistance; or is enrolled in a reduced or free lunch program. In terms of academic standards, students can qualify if they have a GPA of less than a 2.5, have performed less than satisfactorily on standardizes tests, have missed more than 25 days of school, have been suspended, expelled, or retained, are in a Dropout Prevention program, or have the potential to be first generation college students.
Continuing Education Classes
Gulf Coast offers numerous continuing education courses covering a variety of subjects, fields, and material. There are courses to assist in professional development, courses related to recreational sports, hobbies, or crafts, as well as courses that can be used to fulfill continuing education requirements placed on employees by their employers. Some of these courses are even offered online. Example courses include medical billing and coding certification program, graphic design, conversational Spanish, Kid’s College, and grant writing.
Among other resources, students also have access to the Career Development Center, Disability Support Services, the Counseling Center, Student Union, and the Success Center. The Success Center is a tutorial service offered by the college to assist students in math and English in particular. It seeks to improve basic grammar and quantitative skills. The Counseling Center is for students who may have issues transitioning from high school, may have relationship problems, are feeling unsure, or would just like to speak to someone regarding their feelings. The Career Development Center provides assistance to students in terms of helping to decide on a major, discussing with students their future career plans, reviewing resumes and providing recommendations, interview tips, and more. Disability Support Services is for students who have a documented disability such, as hearing impairments, physical impairments, chronic illness, or learning disabilities. Students who fall under these categories can ask for special assistance from the school. Finally, the Student Union provides access to fun activities, relaxation, a place to gather with friends, and a venue to enjoy college life at its best.
The wider community directly benefits from the presence of the college through the Small Business Development Center. This center provides training and workshops for individuals managing or looking to open a small business. There is even access to training online. One of the many advantages to the center, besides the free consultations and expert advice from individuals in the business, is the computer lab, which is housed on site and offers access to software such as Quickbooks and Microsoft Office. Known as the SBDC and located in Lynn Haven, not only is the area location served but also six different counties. Example workshops include “Steps to starting a small business,” “Developing your first business plan,” “Understanding balance sheets,” “marketing,” and “Government contracting opportunities.”
Freshman applicants must present an official high school transcript to be considered for admission. They must also present copies of their SAT or ACT score. Students are required to take a placement test to determine where they fall in terms of their reading, writing, and math skills. Satisfactory scores on the SAT or ACT scores allow for waiver of the placement test requirement.
In terms of transfer applicants, students must submit their official transcripts from all previous attended universities or colleges. All students must also submit an application for admission.
International students have a more strenuous application process. As an international student, one must submit satisfactory TOEFL scores. These students also need to submit a bank statement, a passport-sized photo, and a copy of one’s passport to the admissions office.
To receive federal funding in the form of grants, loans, or the federal work-study program, all prospective students must complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The information obtained on the FAFSA will be shared with GCSC, and a financial aid award letter will be sent to the student provided a student is eligible.
There are also scholarship opportunities available. The state of Florida grants scholarships, and there are many private scholarships awarded by foundations, community organizations, and places of employment. If all else fails, there are also private loan options through banks or credit unions.
Student Financial Aid Details
Student life at Gulf Coast is far from boring. Being surrounded by nature’s beauty makes this college campus even more of a jewel when treated to live entertainment in the form of concerts and other musical performances. There are also a host of plays, art shows, and lectures that are open to the community.
Students can get involved on campus through a host of different organizations. Many individuals understand that college life is more than just academics and preparation to enter the workforce — it is a time of discovery, to get to know oneself as well as others. It is a time to form friendships and bonds that may serve you well years later in terms of networking.
Clubs and associations at GCSC include the Gay Straight Alliance, the Spanish Club, the Student Chef Association, Visionaries Ink, and the World Philosophy and Religion Association.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Gulf Coasts’s mascot is the Commodore. Teams include men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s baseball, and women’s softball. The college is a member of the Florida Community College Activities Association.