Lakeland’s Florida Polytechnic University Becomes Accredited

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Florida Polytechnic University is now an accredited institution that can award college and graduate school degrees.

The Ledger reports ( ) the Lakeland school’s certification was announced Friday by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Florida Polytechnic was established in 2012 as a school focused on science, technology, engineering and math. President Randy Avent said the certification to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees shows prospective students and faculty that the school is a “serious and legitimate” contender in higher education.

Only students at accredited universities can receive federal grants and student loans. Accreditation also is required for the school to receive federal research and grant money.

In a statement, Gov. Rick Scott said the school’s academic focus will help create “a new generation of innovative leaders.”

According to the colleges website they have been working hard over years to get this accreditation.

“Since before Florida Poly opened its doors two years ago, we have been working toward obtaining accreditation. We have been taking steps in the process at the earliest opportunities they become available. Achieving candidacy marks our biggest milestone thus far,” said Dr. Avent. “Our students, faculty, staff and partners have all worked extremely hard to get us to this point. We look forward to continuing our work with SACSCOC and gaining initial accreditation as quickly as possible.”

In March of this year, a Candidacy Committee from SACSCOC visited Florida Poly and reviewed the university’s initial documentation to evaluate its eligibility for candidacy. Based on their assessment, the committee voted to grant the university candidacy for accreditation to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Florida Poly currently offers six bachelor’s degree programs and two master’s degree programs. The university does not currently offer doctorate degree programs.

“I’ve heard how much work and effort the faculty and staff have put into reaching this first step,” said Holly Pafford, a junior majoring in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with a concentration in Nanotechnology. “Even though the application has been a huge focus, the faculty has gone above and beyond to ensure the classroom experience is also great. I think that’s the kind of university we are – going above and beyond to achieve as much as we can.”

SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges’ Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.