Independent USF Poly Would Take Longer To Earn Accreditation

USF Polytechnic sign along I-4
TAMPA (2012-2-24) -

The Chronicle of Higher Education has condensed the months-long saga over the University of South Florida Polytechnic’s future into one handy story.

Most interesting to Florida readers is an interview with the president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the organization that would accredit the new, independent school.

President Belle Wheelan said the new school’s accreditation could take longer — and additional three years — if it is independent from the University of South Florida.

Also interesting? Wheelan said she did not tell Polk County Sen. JD Alexander that the school could earn even temporary accreditation by July, when the budget makes the new school official. Alexander has been quoted saying he had been assured the school could a temporary accreditation quickly. From the story:

The senator, who could not be reached for comment, was quoted by some news reports as saying that the regional accrediting organization that oversees Florida, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, had assured him that the Polytechnic campus could be finished with the process by then.

But Belle S. Wheelan, the accrediting group’s president, said no such assurances were made. Instead, she said, she told the senator that the timeline for accrediting the Polytechnic campus would be shorter as long as it was still under the control of the University of South Florida.

If the campus becomes independent without first being accredited, the process could take three more years, she said. “He heard what he wanted to hear, and it took him awhile to hear that,” she said.

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