Rayonne Berry, a senior at Disston Academy, has always dreamed of being a Florida A&M University (FAMU) Rattler. She recently visited St. Petersburg College’s (SPC’s) Gibbs Campus for a morning of FAMU swag, music and information, where she learned about the Ignite program, which allows students to start at SPC and transfer to FAMU after earning an associate degree.
“I’ve always wanted to go to FAMU since I was 10,” she said. “And I like the Ignite program because I can stay close to home until I’m ready to transfer.”
The Ignite program offers degrees in accounting, biology, criminal justice, journalism, mechanical engineering and pre-physical therapy.
While at SPC, Ignite students are supported by dedicated advisors at both SPC and FAMU, getting support in a smaller setting at SPC that will ensure their success at university. The degree pathways are prescribed, so no time or money is wasted on any classes that won’t transfer. Students also save money, because tuition at SPC is about half that of a state university.
Lakewood High School junior Makeiha Smith, who wants to be a journalist, said the savings were attractive, as well as the support offered at SPC.
“It’s about the funds,” Smith said. “I can save money those first two years, and be prepared to pay for FAMU, but at SPC, I’ll also be learning what I’ll need to be successful at FAMU.”
The recent Ignite event at SPC began with a welcome from SPC President Tonjua Williams, the students heard from several FAMU dignitaries, including FAMU President Larry Robinson.
Robinson touted FAMU’s offerings, as well as the opportunities offered by the Ignite program.
“We take our motto, ‘Excellence with character,’ seriously,” he said. “We care about you – the world cannot afford for you not to be successful.”