Florida Polytechnic University, the state’s newest institution of higher education, is on its way to full accreditation.
The school announced Monday it was granted official “candidacy” status to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC.
It’s the “regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states,” according to its website.
Florida Poly President Dr. Randy Avent broke the news with students, staff and faculty, with SACSCOC Vice President Dr. Mary Kirk appearing on a video monitor from Atlanta.
Accreditation is important, among other reasons, because it lends credibility to the institution and determines whether credits are transferable to other schools. Moreover, employers may decline to interview job candidates whose degrees are from unaccredited institutions.
Florida Poly’s candidacy means “the university has demonstrated … its compliance with core requirements as well as certain comprehensive and federal standards,” a press release said.
The next step is completing and turning in a compliance certification.
“In this step, the university must submit several documents that demonstrate the school’s compliance with all core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements,” the release said.
The first class of a handful of graduate students now does not graduate till Jan. 3, university spokeswoman Crystal Lauderdale said.
Their accreditation as a class will be covered retroactively when the school hopefully is accredited next year, she added.
Florida Poly, founded by conservative former state Sen. JD Alexander, was established as the state’s 12th university in 2012.
The school now offers six bachelor’s degree programs and two master’s degree programs. It does not yet offer doctorate programs.
The school’s Lakeland campus is known for its spaceship-looking main building designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.