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USF & Partners Announce FUSE Scholarship Fund

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2017) - The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay announced today the commitment of up to $2.5 million by Helios Education Foundation and the USAmeriBank Foundation to establish a scholarship fund in support of students participating in FUSE and recognized the scholarship’s first recipient.

Fuse is a guaranteed admission program that creates a clearly defined “graduation pathway” for students to earn an associate degree before seamlessly transferring to any of the USF System institutions for a bachelor’s degree.

The initial scholarship fund of $1.5 million was seeded with a $500,000 gift from USAmeriBank and matched on a 2-to-1 basis by Helios. Additionally, Helios has pledged another $1 million in future 2-to-1 matching funds. 

“We have outstanding partners who want a better tomorrow for our students, for their families and for the Tampa Bay region,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “Together, we are providing world-class learning opportunities that will prepare students for success in careers and in life.”

The scholarship fund’s first recipient, Michael Malcolm, currently a student at Hillsborough Community College, will begin classes at USF in 2019.

(L to R) President of Hillsborough Community College Ken Atwater, scholarship recipient Michael Malcolm, and USF System President Judy Genshaft

“We are extremely proud of Michael’s academic performance and desire to pursue a degree in Biomedical Sciences,” said Ken Atwater, PhD, president of Hillsborough Community College.

From their initial admission into FUSE, each eligible student can receive up to $5,500 in FUSE scholarship awards as they progress successfully in their program. In order to be eligible to receive the award, a student must have proof of financial need and successfully complete the minimum 20 credit hours during the first year of enrollment in the program.

“The FUSE program is a golden ticket,” said Malcolm. “Not having to worry about some of the financial restraints I have, and being accepted here at USF means a lot to me. It’s my eureka moment!”

The fund will award up to 100 scholarships in its first year, and plans to gradually increase the number of scholarships in the years to come. The selection of recipients will be made from a cohort of the eligible candidates, ranked by GPA.

“Ensuring that more students - particularly first-generation, minority and underrepresented students - have a clear pathway and now the financial support to complete a postsecondary degree is an exciting evolution of the FUSE program,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation.

“Helping to fund these scholarships is a perfect way to make a lasting impact in helping more students go from earning their associate’s degrees to earning four-year degrees,” said Mark Fernandez, Senior Vice President of USAmeriBank.

Leadership from USF, Hillsborough Community College, USAmeriBank and Helios Education Foundation gather for a photo opportunity

FUSE is one of four strategic pillars for LEAP, Tampa Bay’s College Access Network. LEAP is a cross-sector regional network of leaders focused on increasing college access and attainment, with the goal of ensuring that Tampa Bay has a globally competitive workforce.

The FUSE program is available at the following Florida College System Institutions:

  •          Hillsborough Community College
  •      Polk State College
  •      St. Petersburg College
  •      Pasco Hernando State College
  •      State College of Florida
  •      College of Central Florida
  •      South Florida State College
  •         Santa Fe College  

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