School Profile: St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College was founded by Captain George M. Lynch in 1927 to provide Pinellas County residents with affordable higher education during the Great Depression. It’s inaugural class of 102 studied at St. Petersburg High School. Initially private, St. Petersburg College become state-funded for public education in 1948. As part of the Florida College System, SPC grants both two-year associate and four-year bachelor’s degrees. More than 65,000, including 36,100 degree-seeking, students enroll annually. Along with its main campus on a Tampa Bay peninsula, SJC operates satellite centers in Seminole, Largo, Clearwater, and Tarpon Springs. St. Petersburg College is also Florida’s largest distance learning provider with over 650 online courses, including an accredited RN to BSN program.

According to Community College Week, St. Petersburg College ranks 18th nationally in number of associate degrees awarded in health professions. In 2015, Achieving the Dream recognized SPC for being a “Leader College” in improving student success. Twice in the last decade, St. Petersburg’s M.M. Bennett Library won the ACRL’s Community College Achievement Award. With several LEED certified buildings, the college was crowned “Outstanding Business of the Year” by the Florida Gulf Coast Green Building Council. St Petersburg College has received the Instructional Technology Council’s Outstanding Technical Support and Service Award. The AACC’s Center for Digital Education even placed SPC #1 among large urban community colleges nationally. St. Petersburg maintains a high graduation rate of 71 percent.

St. Petersburg College Accreditation Details

Last reaffirmed in 2008, St. Petersburg College is institutionally accredited at Level II by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This regional accreditor is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). All associate and bachelor’s programs are aligned with the Florida Department of Education’s standards. In particular, the RN to BSN program holds industry-related accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The A.S. in Nursing is separately reviewed by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Other healthcare degrees are qualified under the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

St. Petersburg College Application Requirements

Admission to St. Petersburg College is moderately difficult with around 1,300 students (25 percent) of its annual 5,200 applicants being accepted. For the online RN to BSN program, nurses must have completed an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing or diploma from a regionally accredited college. Finishing all general education requirements and two years of one foreign language is required. SPC students must carry a minimum 2.0 GPA with grades of “C” or higher in nursing prerequisites. Having passed the NCLEX-RN exam satisfactorily for active, unrestricted RN licensure is mandatory. Preference may be given to applicants with previous nursing experience in healthcare organizations. Honors students must achieve a cumulative GPA above 3.5 and submit a 500-word writing sample.

Applying to St. Petersburg College is a simple online process taking under 20 minutes. At least four weeks before the semester start date, RN to BSN applicants must send the following:

• Online college application in MySPC
• Payment for the $40 non-refundable fee
• Official high school and college transcripts
• Copy of state-issued RN license
• Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
• Florida driver’s license for in-state tuition
• Professional nursing resume (optional)

Tuition and Financial Aid

St. Petersburg College is ranked 12th in Florida for affordability. Lower-division courses cost only $111.75 for Florida residents and $386.90 for out-of-state students per credit. Upper-division courses charge in-state students $122.70 and non-resident learners $425.79 per credit. Full-time students from Florida typically spend $3,352 per year. Out-of-state residents enrolling full-time pay $11,607 on average each year. Online course fees add $15 per credit. The online RN to BSN program costs $6,028 (in-state) and $18,151 (out-of-state) total. Estimated program expenses include $1,207 for textbooks, $23 for liability insurance, $20 for a College of Nursing shirt, and $30 for graduation application.

Statistics from the NCES display that 75 percent of beginning, full-time SPC students receive assistance. Financial aid packages are worth a mean $4,733 yearly. Institutional awards, such as the Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship, Presidential Baccalaureate Transfer Scholarship, Board of Trustees Scholarship, and Johnnie Ruth Clarke Scholarship, are abundant. In-state residents could qualify for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. Low-income students may receive the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, or Florida Student Assistance Grant. There’s also a SPC Student Incentive Grant for $400 per semester. RNs should apply for the national HRSA Nurse Corps Scholarship Program. Tuition waivers are available for out-of-state veterans, senior citizens, state employees, and law enforcement dependents. Nurses can borrow Stafford, Perkins, and PLUS loans, which often qualify for loan forgiveness programs.

Online RN to BSN Program

From the Caruth Health Education Center in Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg College confers an online RN to BSN program for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Credentialed registered nurses participate in a CCNE-accredited curriculum of 40 credits to advance their clinical judgment skills for nursing leadership. SPC places emphasis on management, public health, and research rather than basic clinical theories. Nurses can finish the program in four semesters full-time, or progress slowly with one course per semester. Online courses are asynchronous to fit anyone’s schedule 24/7. Currently, distance learning isn’t authorized for Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, or North Carolina residents though.

The RN to BSN program uses innovative online technologies to foster patient care skills required for baccalaureate-level practice in today’s diverse, changing society. Therefore, the curriculum includes courses in physical appraisal, pathophysiology, ethics, clinical informatics, community health nursing, leadership theory, and nursing law. Having an A.A. degree exempts nurses from the general education prerequisites. Courses are completed in eight-week Mod formats for 7 to 15 hours of activities weekly. Two semesters of leadership practicum are arranged at approved medical facilities in students’ own communities. Present employers could even sign off on hours for working RNs.

Online BSN students have zero campus residency requirements because even the orientation is virtual. SPC has maintained a 95 percent placement rate since 2006. Online RN to BSN graduates can excel in geriatric, pediatric, hospice, home health, oncology, obstetric, psychiatric-mental health, and more specialties of nursing. Achieving the bachelor’s degree unlocks a median starting salary of $66,640. Anyone lacking RN credentials before this program should pursue the LPN Transitional Nursing or Paramedic to RN Transitional Nursing degree at St. Petersburg College.

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