It is hard to discuss the history of Tampa, Florida without mentioning the University of Tampa (UT) as a major part of the city’s history. When Tampa was nothing more than a fishing village in the last decade of the 19th century, it was quickly transformed into modernity by the construction of the Tampa Bay Hotel in 1891. This structure thereafter became the symbol of Tampa’s new status. The hotel was one of a kind and would over the years be the natural boarding place for dignitaries and celebrities visiting the area.
UT began life as Tampa Junior College and was founded in 1931 with the aim of providing university education to Tampa’s high school graduates. The university later acquired the Tampa Bay Hotel which is today known as Plant Hall and is the university’s main administrative and academic building.
In addition to Plant Hall, the campus has another 48 buildings on a 100-acre area. Beginning with a student enrollment of 67 in 1931, the student population has grown steadily over the years.
The University is divided into four colleges – the College of Arts and Letters, the John H. Sykes College of Business, the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education. The four colleges offer over 125 study programs at both undergraduate and graduate level and 8 master’s programs.
The College of Arts and Letters (CAL) is divided into 7 departments offering a total of 21 degree programs and several certificate programs. One of the departments represented at CAL is the Department of Art which offers bachelor’s degrees in fine arts, graphic design, digital arts, art therapy, and arts administration.
The Department of Language and Linguistics offers a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and minors French and Spanish. The department also offers certificate programs in French, German, Spanish and Italian. Other departments covered under CAL include communication, English and writing, philosophy and religion and speech, theater and dance.
The College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education is divided into five departments offering degree and certificate programs in criminology, psychology, mathematics, education and government.
The College of Natural and Health Sciences offers degrees and certificates in nursing, biology, chemistry, physics and exercise science and sports studies. The exercise science and sports studies department offers degree and certificate programs aimed at people seeking careers in physical education, exercise science, adult fitness, public health and sports management.
Students enrolled in the Sykes College of Business will experience not only a strong business core, but a liberal arts education as well, in order to better prepare students for critical thinking and communication. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information and Technology Management, International Business, Management, and Marketing. MBA degrees are available for graduate students, and there are also certification programs available for those who need or want to enhance a particular knowledge set.
Some of the graduate studies offered include three MBA programs, master’s of science in nursing, master’s of science in finance and master’s of arts in education.
Students here have several options to study abroad. Under UT Travel Courses, close to 300 students get a chance to study abroad during the spring semester. Through the Office of International Programs, the university gives its students the opportunity to spend a semester or even a full year at another university abroad. Students taking advantage of this program get to spend time in countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Students with a good academic report have the opportunity to join the university’s honors program. To get admitted, a student needs to obtain and maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Every year, six students who have been admitted to this program get to spend a subsidized semester at the prestigious Oxford University, UK.
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To be admitted as a freshman, the applicant is required to send the official high school transcript or, in its absence, the GED results. High school graduates are also required to send a recommendation from a guidance counselor if they are fresh from high school but this requirement is waived for applicants who completed high school more than two years before the date of application. All applicants are also required to present a report of their ACT or SAT scores.
Students seeking to transfer from other colleges or universities are required to submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended. In addition, the university requires transfer students to present their high school transcripts showing their graduation date. Former students who wish to return but have been away for more than one year are required to re-apply afresh.
International students applying have to present similar documents but applicants who do not have English as their native language have to also present their Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL) scores as well as ACT or SAT scores. International applicants are also required to complete a Financial Statement Form which seeks to obtain information on the student’s ability to meet education expenses. All applications can be made online and applicants must pay a non-refundable fee.
The cost of attending this university can be greatly reduced by accessing the many sources of financial aid available. The majority of students attending (over 80%) receive some form of financial aid. The university has internal scholarships and grants, some of which are very generous.
High school applicants who have demonstrated leadership or community service and have an unweighted GPA of 3.7 could apply for the Presidential Scholarship which awards $11,000 every year. The Dean’s Scholarship awards $9,000 per year to high school applicants with similar credentials and a GPA of 3.5.
There is also the Minaret Scholarship ($7,000) for applicants with a GPA of 3.27. Other scholarships include the Spartan Scholarship, the Achievement Award, the International Baccalaureate Scholarship, the Transfer Scholarship (for transfer students) and the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship.
Various departments have scholarship programs too. Awards are based on the talent of the applicant and range between $500 and $2,500 per academic year.
Students who are residents of Florida could apply for one of several state-specific grants and scholarships. The Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG) awards over $2,000 to residents who are enrolled full-time in a private college or university in the state. Florida high school graduates could also apply to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program which awards three scholarships each year.
Other state scholarships and grants include the Florida Student Assistance Grant (FSAG), the Florida Minority Teacher Scholarship and the Florida Teacher Scholarship and Forgivable Loan Program.
A host of federal grants are also available to students. To qualify for these grants (as is the case with the state grants), a student will need to make an application with FAFSA.
Needy students who show satisfactory academic progress could win the Pell Grant which awards amounts up to $5,500 per annum. Moreover, winners of Pell grants who have financial needs which FAFSA considers exceptional could also qualify for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). Students studying to become teachers (both graduate and undergraduate) could also apply for the $4,000 per year Teacher Education Assistance for College or Higher Education (TEACH) Grant.
Other forms of financial aid available include part-time employment opportunities and federal loans.
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This campus is a very vibrant society which offers students a very diverse range of extra-curricular activities to pursue. There are over 140 clubs and organizations that a student could join. These include academic recognition services, leadership groups, community service organizations and a student government. There are close to 20 fraternities and sororities and eight campus publications. The students also run their own radio and TV station and produce a newspaper
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Student Graduation Demographics
The Spartans are members of the NCAA Division II. The university has teams competing in a wide variety of athletic activities including baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, swimming and softball among others. Club sports available at the university include fishing, netball, ice hockey, waterskiing, synchronized swimming, and ice and roller hockey.
The various Spartan teams have been a force to reckon with since they have won a total of 12 NCAA II championships. The most successful team has been the baseball team with 5 championships. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams have also won championships as have the women’s volleyball team and the golf team.
Accreditation is provided by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university’s departments and programs have also been accredited by various professional bodies. Some of these bodies include the American Association of Museums, the Florida State Board of Education, the American Chemical Society, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.