Above: Fuse scholarship recipient Lia Messina speaks at a Jan. 2019 event announcing the Fuse Scholarship Fund had reached $3 million.
Promising early results for Fuse scholarship recipients show impact of financial aid on student success
As a seamless transfer program between the University of South Florida and eight Florida state colleges, including Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College, the Fuse program already helps students save time – and money – as they work to earn their bachelor’s degrees.
The Fuse scholarship program offers qualified Pell-eligible students $5,500 for those expenses not covered by financial aid in order to help them achieve degree completion. Started in 2017 through the generous donations of the U.S. AmeriBank Foundation and Helios Education Foundation, the Fuse Scholarship Fund has grown to more than $3 million in just two years, and has assisted 255 students.
New data shows the investment is yielding impressive results. At Hillsborough Community College, the Fall 2017 Fuse cohort tracked through their sixth semester (i.e., two years of enrollment) saw 79% of the students who received a scholarship still on their graduation pathway compared to just 53% Fuse program students who did not receive a scholarship. The Fall 2018 cohort tracked through their third semester (i.e. one year of enrollment) saw 100% of scholarship recipients still on grad-path compared to 74% of Fuse students with no scholarship.
St. Petersburg College reports similar impact. Measured by course completion, scholarship recipients had a 97% successful course completion rate, versus 78% of all Fuse students.
While scholarship recipients have experienced the most success in the Fuse program, results are impressive for the program overall, as well. For example, first time in college (FTIC) Fuse students at SPC who graduated in Spring 2019 and transferred to USF did so in an average of 5.9 semesters (n = 55). FTIC students who were not in Fuse, but were seeking an associate’s degree, took an average of 11.8 semesters to do the same – or double the time of Fuse students.
To learn more about the Fuse program and make a scholarship gift, visit www.leaptampabay.org/the-fuse-program.