Frequently Asked Questions for Future Students
Q: What is Brightspace®? Where can I get help with Brightspace®?
A: Brightspace® is the online learning environment for you, your instructor, and your classmates to interact beyond the scheduled class time.
You will be able to view the list of the courses you are registered for approximately two weeks prior to the beginning each term. On the first day of the new term, you will have access to your courses at 12:01 a.m.
For Brightspace assistance, you may email BrightspaceSupport@southflorida.edu or call 863-784-7016.
Q: How do I access Brightspace®?
A: You may access Brightspace through the Panther Central homepage or the by selecting email on the drop down menu of your student tab.
Q: How do I access Panther Central?
A: You may access Panther Central from the SFSC website home page at southflorida.edu, and click on Panther Central at the top of the SFSC home page.
Your username is your full school issued email address (e.g., email@example.com). Your password default is your eight-digit date of birth in the form of mmddyyyy (e.g., Jan. 3, 1986 would be 01031986). You will be prompted to change your password at first log in. Once you have successfully entered your account, select the “Student” tab. You will now see different options from which to choose.
If you are unable to log in with the information above, call 863-784-7405 or email SFSCPantherCentralSupport@southflorida.edu.
Q: How do I view my grades during the term in Brightspace?
A: To view your grades in Brightspace, select grades from your course navigation bar.
Q: How do I view my final grades?
A: Panther Central is the student online resource where you may view final grades for all courses. From your Student page, select Final Grades from the middle column.
Q: What does it mean if I have a “hold” on my student account?
A: There are several types of holds including a business hold for money owed to the College (may include fines for illegal parking, fines for overdue library books, etc.) and a First-Year Experience hold for students needing the First-Year Experience Seminar course. Holds on student accounts may block online registrations, and release of transcripts.
Q: How do I find my Grade Point Average (GPA)?
A: GPAs are available in your Panther Central account, along with your academic transcript. You may access this information on the student tab. Your SFSC GPA will be listed separately from the GPA from any other colleges previously attended, as well as a cumulative GPA of all courses attempted.
Q: Where do I find information about scholarships?
A: Scholarship information is available through the Financial Aid Office and on the SFSC website at southflorida.edu. Go to the Financial Aid webpage and select “Scholarship Sources.” An online scholarship manager is available to search for SFSC Foundation scholarships. You may also search online to find national and international scholarship opportunities. If you plan to transfer to a four-year college or university, check that institution’s website as well. Do not pay any fees for online services to find scholarships. Reputable websites, such as fastweb.com are FREE.
Q: What is the communication and mathematics competency requirement?
A: Mandated by the Florida State Department of Education, you must demonstrate college-level communication and computation skills through the completion of coursework in English and mathematics. You must complete the communication competency courses with a grade of C or higher. You must satisfy the competency requirement in mathematics by completing 6 credit hours of college level mathematics with grades of C or higher. You may need to meet additional competency requirements in other courses.
Q: What is the difference between dropping and withdrawing from a course?
A: When you drop a course, no record of ever having been registered into the course will appear on your transcript, and you will receive a tuition refund or credit. However, you must drop courses within the time frame of the “Drop with Refund” period (usually within the first week of classes). Once the “Drop with Refund” period has ended, you may withdraw from the course, but there is no refund of tuition. A grade of W will be recorded on your academic transcript, which does not impact your GPA, but may influence your transfer to other State colleges or institutions. Withdrawing from classes may also impact your financial aid eligibility.
Q: What is “Grade Forgiveness?”
A: “Grade Forgiveness” is the practice of replacing a D or F grade earned on the first attempt of a course with a C or higher passing grade earned on a second attempt. Both grades will appear on your transcript but only the second grade will be used in calculating your GPA. You may not withdraw from a third attempt of any course and will receive the grade earned in that course. If you are unsuccessful on the third attempt, you must receive permission to repeat a course for a fourth time and both the grades from the third and fourth attempts will be used to compute your GPA. Full explanation of grade forgiveness is available in the College Catalog.
Q: What is Excess Credit Hour Surcharge?
A: In 2009, the Florida Legislature implemented Section 1009.286, Florida Statutes (F.S.) to encourage students to complete their baccalaureate degree as quickly and efficiently as possible. It established what is commonly referred to as an “Excess Credit Hour Surcharge.” The bill requires State university system institutions to add a surcharge to each credit hour taken in excess of the total number of credit hours required to complete the degree being pursued. The amount in excess of the total hours is calculated based on a percentage defined in law and is referred to as the threshold percentage. The amount charged per credit hour is a calculated amount referred to as the surcharge.
Q: Are there any credits that do not count toward the excess credit hour surcharge?
A: The law stipulates that the following credits do not count towards the threshold: credits earned through an articulated accelerated mechanism such as AP, IB, AICE, or dual enrollment; withdrawals due to medical or personal hardship; credit hours required for certification, recertification, or certificate programs; credit hours taken by active-duty military personnel; credit hours required to achieve a dual major taken while pursuing a baccalaureate degree; remedial and English as a Second Language credit hours; and credit hours earned in military science courses that are part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Q: What is the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree?
A: An A.S. degree is a college credit occupational program of study designed to prepare students for employment in a variety of high technical fields and provides transferability into a baccalaureate program of study at one or more of the state universities or independent colleges in Florida. The A.S. degree is a minimum of 60 credit hours, with approximately 18 credit hours of general education courses. The A.S. degree gives a student the flexibility of entering the job market after two years of study or continuing their education. Students are encouraged to discuss their options with a counselor.
Q: What is the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree?
A: An A.A. degree is commonly referred to as the university parallel program. Students completing an A.A. degree intend to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study. The A.A. degree requires the completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours, with approximately two-thirds of the courses distributed among general education requirements. The remaining one-third of the courses are specific to the major. In completing the A.A. degree, students are enrolling in lower division courses (freshman and sophomore level courses) at the state college.
Q: What is the Apprenticeship Program?
A: Sponsored in partnership with the Heartland Apprenticeship Committees for air conditioning, electrical, and electrical lineworker, students enrolling in the apprenticeship program will complete 640 hours of classroom training and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Students must apply through the Heartland Apprenticeship Committee before August of each year. Students must be working for a participating employer to participate in the apprenticeship program.
Q: What is the College Credit Certificate?
A: SFSC offers a number of college credit certificate programs which allow a student to complete a concentration of coursework in a specific career area of interest such as accounting, agriculture, business, or paramedic studies. Credit earned through the College credit certificate may be transferred in to a corresponding Associate in Science degree.
Q: What is the Career Certificate?
A: SFSC offers a number of technical programs of study which combine classroom work and hands-on training. The goal of these programs is to prepare a student for employment upon completion of the certificate. Classes typically meet between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Q: What is the Baccalaureate Degree?
A: The baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree is typically a four-year degree or 120-credit hour program of study. Students complete both lower division general education courses and electives along with a concentration of upper level courses required for the bachelor’s degree. SFSC offers three baccalaureate programs; the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management, the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Q: Is a foreign language required to earn the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree?
A: Effective 2014, a foreign language is required for the A.A. degree. This requirement can be met with successful completion of one of the following:
- two years of the same foreign language in high school,
- two sequential college terms of the same foreign language at SFSC,
- second level foreign language college course, or
- minimum scores on a foreign language proficiency exam through Advanced Placement Credit (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
Q: Does SFSC offer any bachelor’s degrees?
A: SFSC currently offers a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management and Bachelor of Science degrees in both Nursing and Elementary Education.
Q: How do I contact an advisor or counselor?
A: Call us at 863-784-7131 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.