College Choice

By Hannah Wallace March 31, 2006

Argosy University

5250 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34235

(941) 379-0404;

New president Steve Sorkin, who relocated from Argosy's Washington, D.C., campus to Sarasota in January, touts Argosy's degrees in business, psychology and education, and says the campus caters to "nontraditional" students whose average age is 42.

Last December, the school underwent a major revision of its business programs, which include bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in business administration.

The psychology school recently earned accreditation for its mental-health counseling program, the fifth such program in Florida to receive accreditation. Another new program, a doctorate of education and community-college executive leadership, draws 70 percent of its students from around the country, says director of admissions Linda Voltz.

Founded: 1969 Degrees offered: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.A.Ed., M.B.A., Ed.S., Ed.D., Psy.D., D.B.A. Target population: working adults interested in pursuing degrees in the fields of psychology, business and education Tuition: $360-$530 per credit hour No. of campuses: 1 in Sarasota (16 nationwide) No. of students: 2,000 Out-of-state students: N/A Average class size: 9.2 2000 graduates: 308 2005 graduates: 453


Eckerd College

2050 Oak St., Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 957-3397;

Eckerd College's Program for Experienced Learners (PEL), in Sarasota since 1988 at First Presbyterian Church, hopes to relocate to a new facility in the RBC Centura building at Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard this summer. With 200 current students, "We've outgrown the facility where we are," says Helen T. Meyer, director of the Sarasota center.

Its most popular programs are in business management, which are offered primarily at night and on weekends. The school also offers majors in global business, healthcare management-which allows nurses and respiratory therapists to move into supervisory roles-and a new major in environmental studies.

The Sarasota campus is one of five PEL locations around the region. More than 500 graduates of the Sarasota campus live and work in the area.

Founded: Sarasota campus, 1988; St. Petersburg, 1958 Degrees offered: B.A. Target population: Adults age 23 and older Tuition: $238.57 per credit hour No. of campuses: 1 in Sarasota; 5 total No. of students in Sarasota: 200 Out-of-state students: 0 Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 2000 graduates: 35 in Sarasota 2005 graduates: 40 in Sarasota Anticipated number of 2006 graduates: 50


Florida State University College of Medicine

201 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 316-8120;

The FSU medical school was launched in 2000 as the first new M.D. program to be established in the United States since 1982; its Sarasota Regional Medical School Campus-one of four regional campuses that FSU's med students must attend in order to receive their third- and fourth-year training-opened last year with nine students. The campus serves as a teaching center for these students, who spend 90 percent of their time with 60 area physicians in family practice, gynecology, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, surgery and community medicine.

Dr. Bruce Berg, clinical professor and dean of the Sarasota campus, says eventually the Sarasota campus will train 20 third-year and 20 fourth-year students, with about 150 physician mentors. Berg says the region benefits from the medical campus. "There's a potential that students would stay here or come back after their training," he says.

Founded: Sarasota campus, 2005; FSU College of Medicine, 2000 Degrees offered: M.D. (Note: Sarasota campus accepting third- and fourth-year medical students only. To achieve full degree, students must attend main campus in Tallahassee for years one and two.) Target population: Medical students Tuition: $16,743.73 per semester No. of campuses: 1 in Sarasota (also in Tallahassee, Pensacola and Orlando) No. of students in Sarasota: 9 Out-of-state students: Only accepts in-state students Student/faculty ratio: Regional campus is generally one-on-one clinical training Graduates: First Sarasota class will graduate in 2007


Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

(941) 351-9010;

FSU/Asolo Conservatory director Greg Leaming is fully aware of the conservatory program's impact on the business community. "We think we're one of the cornerstones of cultural life of Sarasota, and by raising the cultural life, we are raising the lifestyle in the region and making it far more attractive for people to settle down here," he says.

The highly selective graduate program enrolls 12 students each year (out of 2,000 to 3,000 who audition) to study for three years, receiving a master's of fine arts and professional training through its relationship with the Asolo Theatre Company. Third-year students become company members.

Founded: 1974 Degrees offered: M.F.A. Target population: Graduate students from around the country seeking a professional training program that combines intense classroom work with a range of performance opportunities Tuition: Students attend on tuition waivers from the state of Florida and scholarshipsNo. of campuses: 1 No. of students: 30-36 each year Out-of-state students: N/A Student/faculty ratio: 8:1 2000 graduates: 9 2005 graduates: 8 Anticipated 2006 graduates: N/A


Keiser College

6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240

(941) 907-3900;

A $14.2 million, 78,000-square-foot building adjacent to Keiser College's current facility off I-75 and University Parkway will be completed this summer and will house its newest program, culinary arts. Currently educating eight students, the culinary program is projected to grow to 200 students in the next two years. Chancellor Arthur Keiser says the program reflects regional workforce needs. "There was a large demand for high-end culinary arts," he says.

The area's large elderly population and nationwide nursing shortage helped create the school's registered-nursing program two years ago. Keiser has also expanded healthcare offerings, with programs in X-ray technology and massage therapy.

This fall the college will launch a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

Founded: Sarasota campus, 1994 (relocated to Lakewood Ranch, 2001); Fort Lauderdale, 1977 Degrees offered: A.A., A.S., B.A., B.S. Target population: Ages 18-34 Tuition: $5,516 per semester No. of campuses: 1 in Sarasota (22 in Florida) No. of students: 9,200 Percent of out-of-state students: 10 Student/faculty ratio: 15:1 2000 graduates: 155 2005 graduates: 207 Anticipated 2006 graduates: 279


Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

5000 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34211

(941) 756-0690;

LECOM's high-tech Lakewood Ranch campus opened in September 2004, and in two years expects to have more than 600 medical students.

With tuition of $25,000 per student, the total economic impact will be $41 million per year once the school is fully enrolled, according to a recent study commissioned by LECOM. Of the 300 current students, 112 are from Florida and the remainder from 34 states.

Dr. Robert George, associate dean of academic affairs, says LECOM is talking to officials at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Manatee Memorial Hospital about developing residency programs. "If students come here and train here, many will stay on and go to practice. It's a way for us to respond to a physician shortage coming in 2010," he says. "It's how we ended up in Florida."

Founded: Sarasota campus, 2004; Erie, Pa., 1992 Target population: Medical students Degrees offered on Bradenton campus: D.O. Tuition: $25,000 per year No. of campuses: 1 in Bradenton (1 in Erie) No. of students on Bradenton campus: 300 Percent of out-of-state students: 63 Male/female ratio: 53/47 Student/faculty ratio: 10:1 Graduates: First class graduates in 2008


Manatee Community College

5840 26th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34207, (941) 752-5000; 8000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293, (941) 408-1300; 7131 Professional Parkway E., Sarasota, FL 34240, (941) 363-7000;

Serving both traditional and mature students, Manatee Community College has created new programs to provide workers for the area's hospitality, technology and education sectors. It offers associate's degrees at three campuses.

MCC's Industrial Management Technology and Hospitality Management/Culinary Arts program graduated its first student in December. The program involves coursework at MCC, Manatee Technical Institute and the University of South Florida.

To help alleviate the statewide teacher shortage, MCC in September launched a teaching-certification preparation program for non-education majors. The first class included a 26-year-old waitress, a 36-year-old client-service representative for a brokerage firm and a 67-year-old retired engineer. College officials expect to surpass an initial goal of preparing 50 students to enter the teaching profession in the program's first year.

Founded: 1957 Degrees offered: A.A., A.S., A.A.S. Target population: Sarasota-Manatee residents, both traditional and nontraditional students. Tuition: $66.11 per credit hour (Florida residents); $245.05 per credit hour (non-Florida residents) Number of campuses: 3 (Bradenton, Venice and Lakewood Ranch) Number of students: 9,000 credit students; 20,000 noncredit students Percent of out-of-state students: 3.5 Student/faculty ratio: 23:1 2000 graduates: 951 2005 graduates: 1,004 Anticipated 2006 graduates: 1,054


New College of Florida

5700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

(941) 359-4269;

The state's highly selective honors college in north Sarasota-ranked one of the nation's best buys in education-recently embarked on an ambitious campus master plan. New College president Gordon "Mike" Michalson hopes the efforts will give the liberal-arts school a "clearer, crisper presence on Tamiami Trail."

As part of the changes, New College plans to build five new dorms by 2007 as it expands to 800 students from 740. The timing coincides with the relocation of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, which had shared the property since 1975.

Approval of the master plan is expected this fall and includes ideas such as a natural-habitat restoration area in the center of the west campus, more native plants and trees, and green, sustainable architecture.

New College also plans to create an interdisciplinary Institute for Integrative Land Use in partnership with the University of Florida. Michalson says the venture will create a research think tank, where everyone from developers to environmentalists can get "good, sound, fair, unmassaged research." The goal is to open the institute in two years. It will be funded by county, state, federal and private dollars.

Founded: 1960 Degrees offered: B.A. Target population: Academically talented students from across the country. Ninety-nine percent of New College students had a GPA of 3.0 or higher in high school, and the average SAT score of entering freshmen is 1317. Tuition per semester: $3,615 (Florida residents); $19,373 (non-Florida residents); $6,213 room and board No. of campuses: 1 No. of students: 741 Percent of out-of-state students: 21 Student/faculty ratio: 10:1 2000 graduates: 121 2005 graduates: 125 Anticipated 2006 graduates: 130


Ringling School of Art and Design

2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234

(941) 351-5100;

This fall Ringling will open its $14 million student center, a five-story building that will provide 80,000 square feet of residential, classroom and office space.

The school, in partnership with the Sarasota Museum of Art, also plans to transform the 1926 Sarasota High School on South Tamiami Trail into an arts education center. The first floor will house a contemporary art museum, while the upper two floors will become studio and classroom space. The construction cost is estimated at $12 million.

Ringling expects to grow from 1,100 to 1,500 students over the next five to six years and has added four new minors: game art and design, digital film, visual development, and the business of art and design. A recent study set Ringling's annual economic impact at about $100 million, based on its $30 million operating budget.

President Larry Thompson wants to keep more of Ringling's graduates in the region, since 90 percent leave. "The challenge is to make certain that opportunities and jobs exist in this community," he says.

Founded: 1931 Degrees offered: B.F.A. Target population: Art and design students Tuition per year: $21,200 tuition; $1,635 fees; $9,613 room and board No. of campuses: 1 No. of students: 1,088 Percent of out-of-state students: 50 Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 2000 graduates: 178 2005 graduates: 195 Anticipated 2006 graduates: 192


University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

5700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

(941) 359-4330;

This fall USF Sarasota-Manatee, now in its 30th year, plans to move into its brand-new, 100,000-square-foot building on a new site across from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on U.S. 41.

Enrollment will expand from 3,500 to 5,000 students, says campus CEO Laurey Stryker. Last fall, USF Sarasota-Manatee awarded degrees to 252 students, a 40 percent increase from the previous fall.

New programs are aimed at meeting local workforce needs, including nursing and education programs, and the hotel/restaurant management school, which is in its third year. Stryker says its popular finance, accounting and M.B.A. programs enable workers to earn advanced degrees locally. The school is considering additional programs in manufacturing and construction management.

To meet the growing demand in south Sarasota County, the school has established an operation at MCC's Venice campus, where more than 200 USF students take classes.

Founded: Sarasota-Manatee campus, 1975; USF Tampa, 1956 Degrees offered: bachelor's, master's (37 complete programs) Target population: For junior/senior level courses, people of all ages with an A.A. degree or at least 60 semester hours of acceptable college credit. For graduate courses, people of all ages with a bachelor's degree. For joint MCC/USF "2+2" program (cooperative effort that leads to A.A. and B.A./B.S. degrees), high-school graduates. Tuition per credit hour: Undergraduate: $93.82 (Florida resident); $519.36 (non-Florida resident). Graduate: $230.30 (Florida resident); $881.71 (non-Florida resident) No. of campuses: 1 campus center (courses also offered in Venice and Lakewood Ranch; other USF campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Lakeland) No. of students: 3,428 Percent of out-of-state students: 2 Student/faculty ratio: 19:1 2000 graduates: 232 2005 graduates: 359 Anticipated 2006 graduates: 490


Webster University

8043 Cooper Creek Blvd., Suite 101, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34201

(941) 358-3840;

Webster University's enrollment grew 95 percent in 2004 and 60 percent in 2005. Karl Sterner, campus director, says Webster is the largest master's-granting institution in Sarasota and Bradenton.

The university recently added an M.A. program in management and leadership, and is looking to add others such as media communication.

The private, nonprofit university has expanded from a facility with 3,000 square feet to more than 6,000 square feet near I-75 and University Parkway. With four classrooms and a computer lab, it can conduct more than 20 classes a week and also offers free space for companies and organizations to hold meetings.

Sterner says one of the university's biggest local impacts is connecting with businesses. It has expanded its M.B.A. program offsite into workplaces such as PGT Industries.

Founded: Sarasota campus, 2000; main campus, 1915 Degrees offered: M.A., M.B.A. Target population: Ages 25-50 with bachelor's degree Tuition: $390 per credit or $1,170 per class No. of campuses: 1 in Sarasota (105 campuses worldwide) No. of students in Sarasota: 112 Percent of out-of-state students: 0 Student/faculty ratio: 7:1 2005 graduates: 22 Anticipated 2006 graduates: 30-plus

Filed under
Show Comments