Florida Considers College Without Fall Semester

By Nancy Ramsey

Oct 14, 2010 7:20pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Vanessa de la Vina blogs: At a time when universities are making cuts in budgets and staff, provost Joseph Glover of the University of Florida in Gainesville has a new proposal that would allow more students to attend the school.  In fall, the university is operating at peak capacity, while spring and summer semesters see a drop in students. So Glover proposed a pilot program that would offer students the opportunity to apply to and attend UF for spring and summer only. During fall, they could take internships, and distance or study abroad classes. Officials say UF’s resources could be spread out more efficiently. “We would hire new professors if extra classes are needed to accommodate this program,” Glover told ABCNews.com. “But many of the classes these students need are already offered in the summer and spring semesters.” The proposal is still in the planning process, and at the moment there’s a serious obstacle. A current Florida law forbids state universities from requiring students to take summer classes if they came in to the university with at least nine hours of accelerated courses, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs, from high school. Students who are accepted to UF typically fall under this law because of the university’s high admissions standards. If the law is not changed, UF officials plan to make the pilot program exclusive to transfer students. Gonzalo Galvez is one such student. A pre-med sophomore at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, he says he plans to transfer to UF when he finishes his Associate's Degree. "If it lets more students get an education from UF, it's a good thing," Galvez said. While many students like the option of going home or abroad in summer, senior Chris Gilmore, a UF telecommunications major says the fact that home — a small town outside Gainesville — isn’t too far from school makes this program a little more appealing to him. “I can see it being less of a problem for me since my family’s so close by,” Gilmore told ABCNews.com. But Gilmore adds that while this program may find some supporters from students who live in the area, a lot of UF’s appeal comes from activities available only during fall. “There’s so much about fall that just screams college,” Gilmore said. “Football, Christmas break, Gator Growl.” Provost Glover sees an added advantage to the program in that capacity limits do not allow the university to currently accept everyone who meets the school’s admissions standards. This program would provide an alternative for students who typically would be put on a waiting list or have to attend another university. “The greatest benefit is this would afford up to 1,000 more students per year to attend the University of Florida,” Glover said. “Students who otherwise would not be able to come here would get that opportunity if they come in for this program.”

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