SARASOTA, Fla. (April 26, 2017) – Casey Feikema sees himself working as psychologist, but he wants to keep his options open. Jocelyn Riley has plans to become a youth counselor and has a unique setting in mind: A cruise ship.
The two are among the most recent graduates of the State College of Florida Collegiate School, an accelerated-college program that enables students to earn associate in arts degrees tuition-free as they complete high school.
To further their education, USF Sarasota-Manatee is offering additional scholarships to help the students earn bachelor’s degrees tuition-free as well. USFSM’s involvement helps ensure the students will enter the local workforce with minimal, if any, student debt.
At a brief ceremony Tuesday at SCF in Bradenton, 15 State College of Florida Collegiate School grads accepted USFSM’s offer and pledged to attend the campus in the fall.
“It means a lot to receive this scholarship,” said Riley. “I know that not everybody can afford to go to college.”
The 18-year-old plans to enroll in USFSM’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences to study English with a minor in history. She also has another goal in mind: She wants to join the campus’ NCAA women’s rowing team when it debuts.
Like other students in the Collegiate School program, Riley will enter USFSM as a junior, leaving just two years to earn a bachelor’s degree. Afterward, she says, she wants to serve as a youth counselor aboard a Disney cruise ship, where she once enjoyed a positive experience.
“Everybody was so welcoming and nice. I thought they were amazing,” she said.
Feikema, also 18, plans to enroll in the College of Science & Mathematics to study psychology, although he says his plans might change.
In addition to receiving a USFSM Collegiate School scholarship, which pays for any unmet tuition needs, Feikema qualified for a Chancellor’s Award scholarship. This award, USFSM’s most prestigious merit-based scholarship, provides $3,000 annually to students who post a 3.9 or better grade point average or achieve a 1,410-plus SAT admissions score or 29-plus ACT score.
“It’s been hard to keep up with everything, my studies and to keep my grades up,” Feikema said. “To see this come to fruition, it’s pretty cool.”
As part of the pledge ceremony, the students received gift bags and had their photos taken with USF mascot Rocky D. Bull.
To learn more about the SCF Collegiate School Scholarship Program, visit usfsm.edu/financial-aid/scf-collegiate-school-scholarship-program/.