Business Plan: A New Polytechnic University in Florida
In response to a request from the Florida Board of Governors in September 2011, the University of South Florida Polytechnic executive staff developed a business plan that would outline the direction, commitments and operations of an independent Polytechnic institution, now Florida's 12th public university, and would set the institution on a path toward success. The Florida Polytechnic University Business Plan, which can be accessed below, was presented to the Florida Board of Governors in November 2011, and received overwhelming approval. The below business plan is the culmination of countless hours, days and weeks of research, educated and informed projections, direct input and vetting from experts in the polytechnic arena and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM focused institutions, as well as from management of every aspect of the organization
Frequently Asked Questions
It has been reported that an additional $14 million is needed for the construction of Florida Polytechnic, and that the university only has $99 million on hand to build it. Where does this difference come from and are these reports of construction being over budget true?
- The construction and planning costs that were presented to the Board of Governors (BOG) by the University of South Florida (USF) were inflated, and do not reflect the costs in the official Florida Polytechnic University Business Plan, which was approved by the BOG.
- Any reports of construction being over budget are premature and inaccurate because carry forward funds have not yet been committed to the project. If the fixed capital dollar amounts listed below are summed, including the estimated carry forward amounts, the total would equal $109.7 million and the estimated construction budget was of $110 million. Also, the $110 million is for construction of the building and infrastructure, as well as site work including sidewalks and landscaping, which is discretionary and can be adjusted/deferred if necessary.
- The total available funds are currently $98.3 million, consisting of $66.8 million in PECO funding, $20.8 million from committed donors and $10.7 million of carry forward funds for FY 2010-2011, which, as established by legislation that passed during the 2011 Legislative Session, can be used for construction. For FY 2011-2012, approximately $11.4 million could be added to carry forward funds by June 30, 2012, and was expected in the Florida Polytechnic University business plan.
- In addition, Florida Polytechnic will receive $27.6 million in base/recurring funding, adjusted to $22.4 million by a nonrecurring reduction of $5.2 million for FY 2012-2013 for operations. For subsequent years, assuming there are no other changes, recurring funds will be of the full $27.6 million. Senate Bill 1994 allows for Florida Polytechnic to utilize available carry forward funds for construction as needed during the next 10 years.
How will FTE student funding available at Florida Polytechnic compare to FTE student funding at other universities?
- Florida Polytechnic will receive $27.6 million in base/recurring funding every fiscal year (except for FY 2012-2013 when the funding will be $22.4 million). That amount, plus tuition costs, will provide FTE funding for at least 5,000 students and is equivalent to FTE funding at Florida's major universities.
Accreditation is one of the necessary initial requirements for Florida Polytechnic to achieve. How soon can the university be accredited?
- Accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was in progress for USF Polytechnic and will be achieved for the independent Florida Polytechnic as soon as possible. Completion is anticipated in June 2015, but no later than the legislative deadline of December 31, 2016. The existing accreditation package that is pending before SACS will need modifications when the new governance and administration is put in place and will be resubmitted very quickly. While a specific date cannot be determined at this time, the benchmarks outlined in Senate Bill 1994 are expected to be more than ample to achieve accreditation.
How does Florida Polytechnic plan to fund residential housing?
- Residential housing will be funded through a public-private partnership, and will use no state dollars.
Will current students and teachers be protected throughout this transition?
- The transition plan protects current students by assuring they receive an accredited degree from USF, as well as the rights of existing faculty and staff.
Once the Board of Trustees is put in place, what are the necessary next steps for Florida Polytechnic University?
- Much work needs to be done. Florida Polytechnic will need to establish policies and procedures, recruit world-class faculty and staff, recruit students, raise sufficient funds to grant scholarships, develop public-private partnerships to create more funding opportunities, and develop degree programs that focus on applied research, applied technology and interdisciplinary approaches.
Available Funding Facts
- Available funds, which currently total $98.3 million, consist of $66.8 million in PECO funding, $20.8 million from committed donors and $10.7 million of carry forward funds for FY 2010-2011 that can be used for construction.
- Currently, there are $10.7 million of carry forward funds for FY 2010-2011, and for FY 2011-2012, an estimated $11.4 million could be added to the FY 2010-2011 carry forward funds by June 30, 2012. That means that a total of $22.1 million of carry forward funds could be available for Florida Polytechnic.
- Donations to the USF Foundation made by local governments, economic development entities, and private donors total approximately $20.8 million and can be transferred to the new Florida Polytechnic foundation upon its creation and consent of the donors.
- STEM occupations will grow from 6.8 million to 8 million total jobs by 2018, yet only about a third of bachelor's degrees earned in the U. S. are in STEM fields. Florida Polytechnic will focus on preparing students to be a part of, and potentially lead the charge, in this critical-need area.
- With more STEM-related degrees come more high-paying jobs. 65% of bachelor's degree holders in STEM positions earn more than master's degree holders in other fields and 47% of bachelor's degree holders in STEM positions earn more than PhDs in other fields.
- STEM-focused institutions become magnets for high-wage, technology-related organizations that want to access the best and brightest students and the expertise of highly-qualified faculty, and with them come major employment opportunities and financial infusion to grow our economy.
- STEM universities mean more jobs for future graduates. By 2018, Florida will need to fill 411,000 STEM-related jobs – 68% of which will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. - The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America.
- By 2014, 15 out of the 20 fastest growing jobs will require substantial preparation in math and science – Bureau of Labor Statistics.