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New program puts students on the “PATHe” to higher education

A partnership between St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg is helping Pinellas County residents learn more about their educational options after high school.

The new initiative, called the Pinellas Access to Higher Education Program (PATHe), was formed in 2018 with support from the Florida Legislature to expand educational access and assist Pinellas County students who want to earn a college degree. Counselors working with the program, two at SPC and two at USFSP, are reaching out to middle and high school students and other members of the community to provide advice on selecting an institution, choosing a major, navigating the college admissions process and figuring out how to pay for it all.

Information about how to transfer from a state college to a university is highlighted as well. Counselors can help develop a plan for students to earn their associate degree at SPC and then transfer to finish their bachelor’s at USFSP. The FUSE program, which offers a seamless transfer from a state college, including SPC, to the USF system is one of the educational options students may want to consider.

The first cohort of PATHe students began their studies at SPC this fall. The class of 48 students plans to transfer to USFSP at a later time — and along the way, they will continue to receive guidance through the PATHe program to help make the transition easier. More than 25 members of the first cohort were at an orientation event on August 13 at SPC’s St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus to learn more about the program, make friends and start the academic year on the right foot.

For more information about the PATHe program, visit

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