10.5 Admissions Policies & Practices

The institution publishes admissions policies consistent with its mission. Recruitment materials and presentations accurately represent the practices, policies, and accreditation status of the institution. The institution also ensures that independent contractors or agents used for recruiting purposes and for admission activities are governed by the same principles and policies as institutional employees. (Admissions policies and practices)

 Compliance   ____Non-Compliance


St. Petersburg College (SPC) publishes admissions policies consistent with its mission, and its recruitment materials and presentations accurately represent the practices, policies, and accreditation status of the College. SPC also ensures that independent contractors used for international recruiting purposes are governed by the same principles and policies as institutional employees.

Admissions Policies Consistent with the Institution’s Mission

The mission of St. Petersburg College is to “empower our students and community to achieve success and economic mobility through academic excellence and engagement.” Admissions policies are consistent with this mission and its individual components by empowering prospective students through open-access, consistent practices that are substantiated through state, institutional, and programmatic accreditor guidelines. Examples include:

  • Open-access policies support educational attainment and empowerment for all students;
  • Low-cost admissions fees and multiple modalities for application completion (e.g. print, online, etc.) support access and empowerment for all by not serving as a deterrent to higher education enrollment;
  • The College’s transparent admissions process ensures applicants are provided equal access to College policies, processes, and procedures regardless of application modality, student type, or student status;
  • Basic admission requirements follow state statute guidelines; and
  • Program requirements for baccalaureate programs and select lower division programs, such as health sciences, are aligned to national program-specific accreditor standards to ensure program integrity, with adherence to these standards promoting economic mobility by ensuring degrees with transferrable, recognized credentials.

Basic Admission Requirements and Policies

SPC offers a range of associate, baccalaureate, and certificate programs. Admission processes are consistently applied, using identified steps and checklists available to applicants based on their education intentions and applicant type, regardless of whether they are completing the online or print-based application.

St. Petersburg College follows the admissions guidelines of the Florida State Statutes (1004.651007.2631007.2711002.41, and Florida Board of Education Rule 6A-14,  regarding admission of students in order to provide opportunities for all.  These policies combine high standards with an open-door admission policy focused on preparing students directly for careers.

Excerpts from Florida Statute 1004.65 Florida College System institutions, governance, mission, and responsibilities:

(4) As comprehensive institutions, Florida College System institutions shall provide high-quality, affordable education and training opportunities, shall foster a climate of excellence, and shall provide opportunities to all while combining high standards with an open-door admission policy . . .without regard to age, race, gender, creed, or ethnic or economic background . . .


(5) The primary mission and responsibility of Florida College System institutions is responding to community needs for postsecondary academic education and career degree education.

Admissions policies and procedures at SPC are codified in several Board of Trustees (BOT) Rules and Procedures. The following BOT Rules and Procedures provide statutory, administrative, and legal authority underlying admissions policies:

  • 6Hx23-4.01 Rule and Procedure describe general policies of the College, including Equal Access/Equal Opportunity, but must be read in conjunction with 4.02, Admissions Requirements
  • 6Hx23-4.02 Rule and Procedure describe general requirements for admissions, accelerated High School programs, and policies for transfer students, transient students, non-degree seeking, international, and students with disabilities.
  • Additional Board of Trustee Procedures highlight specific admission policies for special student groups: Students with Disabilities (P6Hx23-4.021 and P6Hx23-4.10), High School Students Seeking College Credit (P6Hx23-4.05), Transfer Students (P6Hx23-4.06), Transient Students (P6Hx23-4.07), and International Students (P6Hx23-4.08).
  • Board of Trustees Procedure P6Hx23-4.11 describes general admission into baccalaureate programs and special admission criteria for Nursing and Dental Hygiene programs.

The Director of Admissions and Records, overseeing the centralized Admissions and Records Department, is responsible for the clear and consistent application of these policies and procedures.

Students may apply to the College online through the Admissions Website or via a print application that can be downloaded or picked up on campus, then mailed or submitted in person. Admissions personnel and/or trained advisors are available on every campus to assist with application completion. All applications are processed through Admissions and Records via the online Application Center, leading to a consistent review of applications and implementation of policies. Paper applications are loaded into the online Application Center by admissions staff.

Admission requirements at the College are categorized into four areas indicative of its 2 + 2 degree model:

  • General Admission requirements applicable to all first-time applicants;
  • Lower Division requirements for those degree programs with limited enrollment or specialized accreditation requirements;
  • Upper Division Baccalaureate requirements; and
  • Specialized requirements for certain student groups, such as Dual Enrollment.

These requirements are outlined on the SPC How to Apply website, which details each respective category’s application procedures and includes checklists for application procedures, proof of residency, transcript submission, placement testing, contact with an enrollment specialist, and registering and paying for classes. 

General Admission Requirements

Tables 10.5.1a and 10.5.1b describe the different General Admissions requirements for credit-seeking students, as well as specialized populations, such as international students and non-degree seeking transient students, and links to their individual application sites via the SPC admissions webpage.  Returning students who have not registered for six consecutive semesters are required to update their contact records and proof of Florida residency. There may be program specific re-admittance requirements as well.

Table 10.5.1a — General Admission Requirements by Student Type

Student Designation (with links, if applicable)
First Time in College or returning students who wish to earn any credential (AA, AS, BAS, BS, Certificate or ATD)
A student who has previously enrolled at another college or university and wishes to enroll at SPC
High school students who wish to enroll as Dual Enrolled, Early Admission, Early College, or Collegiate High School
$40 Application Fee Required?
Orientation required?
High School Transcript (or GED or home school affidavit required?)
Placement Testing Required?
College transcripts required?
Additional Considerations
--Students are provided an online tool to determine the level of transfer credit accepted; how to petition for credit if not awarded initially; information specific to veterans and military students; and options for accelerated credit
--Specific application type varies by enrollment type (i.e. Collegiate High School requirements differ from Early Enrollment)

Table 10.5.1b — General Admission Requirements by Student Type

Student Designation (with links, if applicable)
Non-Degree Seeking
Students who wish to come to the US on an F-1 visa to pursue an academic program of study or pursue study online from their home country
Students who do not desire to earn a credential but take college credit courses for personal enrichment, job enrichment, or audit courses. Students may change to degree-seeking.
Students who are degree-seeking at another (home) institution but enroll as a transient student at SPC
$40 Application Fee Required?
Orientation required?
High School Transcript (or GED or home school affidavit required?)
Placement Testing Required?
College transcripts required?
Additional Considerations
--Must provide a National Association of Credentialing and Education Services (NACES) approved vendor evaluation of high school and previous colleges attended if outside U.S.
--Must demonstrate English Language Competency
--Must file Certificate of Financial Ability
--Must meet any course level prerequisites or required placement testing to determine college readiness
Lower Division Programs

In addition to the general admissions application process detailed in Table 10.5.1, some programs require an additional application, such as limited-enrollment health-related programs and public safety programs.  Each of these programs has a specific admissions page (e.g. Respiratory Care), where students can download the admission guide to find the particular admission expectations. In addition, some lower division programs have specific admission requirements defined by their program accreditor, which can be found in the admissions guide or within the curriculum table on the program page.

Upper Division Baccalaureate Programs

Students currently attending lower division courses at SPC must complete the Baccalaureate application process to be considered for admission to an upper-division program. Students applying to SPC for the first time who wish to enter a baccalaureate program or students seeking readmission are required to first submit the standard SPC General Application for Admission. Admission to the various Baccalaureate programs is specific for each program, and Baccalaureate admissions guides (e.g. Sustainability Management) are included on individual program websites along with admission requirements, accessible under the “Academics” tab on the College website. All programs are also listed on the Baccalaureate admissions page of the College website.

Specialized Admissions—Dual Enrollment and Online

No differentiation in admission criteria exists for students enrolling in online programs/courses, and all admissions procedures are the same regardless of campus or modality. However, as noted in Table 10.5.1, admissions procedures do differ for high school students, including dual-enrolled students. The chart of early enrollment options provides an overview of program admission standards to assist prospective students in determining the best fit.



Part I: Signatures Attesting to Integrity

Part II: Institutional Summary Form Prepared for Commission Reviews

Part III: Fifth-Year Compliance Certification

Part IV: Follow-Up Report (not applicable)

Part V: Impact Report of the Quality Enhancement Plan

Supporting Documentation

Specific Program Admission Requirements

As detailed above, some specific lower and upper division programs have special requirements for admissions, using recommended guidelines from their accrediting bodies in addition to Florida Statute and State Board of Education Rules. Admission to these programs may require the student to complete the College’s general admissions requirements plus the completion of specific courses or prerequisites. Other programs may require additional licensure, background checks, drug screening, or completion of a Physical Abilities Test for public safety programs. Special requirements are outlined in the related Board of Trustees Rules and Procedures for each program (see samples in Table 10.5.2).

For lower division health-related programs where the number of eligible students exceeds the positions available, students are admitted on a point system based on program GPA (pre-entry requirements, general education, and support courses) and total program credits earned. Students residing in the service area are given first priority. Programs include Dental Hygiene, Emergency Medical Services, Funeral Services, Health Information Management, Healthcare Informatics, Human Services Technology, Nursing, Physical Therapy Assistant, Radiography, and Respiratory Care.

Students are made aware of specific requirements on each program’s admissions page of the SPC website, which is linked from the main admissions page, and are able to download an admissions guide for that program. All specialized program admissions requirements are based on accepted practices for undergraduate and baccalaureate programs in alignment with other state and national higher education institutions.

Table 10.5.2 — Sample of Specific Program Requirements for Admissions

BOT Policy Number
Requirements of Dental Hygiene Program
Requirements of the Emergency Medical Services Program
Honors College
Requirements of the Nursing Program
Requirements of Funeral Services Program
College of Education Programs—Special Rules

Exceptions to Admissions Policies

While admission policies and procedures are consistent for all entering students, SPC recognizes situations in which exceptions may need to be made, including for students who may have an alternative to a standard high school diploma or students with disabilities.  Florida Statute 1007.263 and SPC’s Demonstrated Competency application provide guidance for students who do not have or cannot provide proof of a standard high school diploma, GED, or home school equivalent. These students may opt to enroll as a non-degree-seeking student and submit a Demonstrated Competency form to an academic advisor. Once they have successfully completed one (1) credit hour of college coursework, they are considered as having “demonstrated competency” at the college level and are then eligible to enter a degree program. The Admissions and Records department maintains records in the Peoplesoft Enrollment system on any students enrolled as “demonstrated competency” and determines their eligibility for degree status based on successful completion of coursework.

Additionally, students with disabilities who do not meet the requirements for admission to degree-seeking status are also given special consideration. Policies for these students are contained in Board of Trustees Procedure 6Hx23-4.02, a portion is excerpted below, and there is information for students via the Accessibility Services website.

X.I. The President is authorized to permit substitute admission requirements for eligible students who have disabilities as defined by State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.041, F.A.C.

A. This Rule is established in compliance with State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.041, to provide disabled students reasonable substitutions for requirements for admission to the College, admission to a program of the College, for course substitutions, and for graduation from the College. To make a determination of appropriate substitutions, the disabled student will be required to provide documentation that:

      1. The student has a disability that is evaluated as interfering with a basic life activity. Examples of such disabilities include but are not limited to vision impairment, hearing impairment, mental or emotional impairment, physical impairments such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis, dyslexia, or other specific learning disabilities as defined below; and
      2. The disability can be reasonably expected to prevent the student from meeting requirements for admission to the College or a program of the College, for satisfactory completion of a course or courses, or for graduation. The student must identify the specific requirement(s) for which a substitution is sought and furnish documentation from an appropriate source that will support the need for a substitution or accommodation.

Students applying to the College under Disability status are registered with the Accessibility Services department, and documentation is collected and stored on the secure PeopleSoft site. Access to documentation and student records is limited to the Admissions and Records director, Accessibility Services director, and other key staff and is protected by federal law.

Uniform Publication of Admissions Policies

All admission policies and procedures are available through the SPC website and are stipulated in the BOT Rules and Procedures. Publication language detailing admissions policies is consistent across all platforms, as demonstrated in both print and web publications such as the College Catalog (pp. 31-42), SPC Admissions website, and Student Handbook (pp. 13-14).  Recruitment materials highlighting SPC programs and benefits refer back to these resources and published policies via the SPC website.  

Development and Approval of Recruitment Materials

In addition, the College provides accurate information regarding our admission practices and policies in all recruitment material available on the College’s website, social media channels, and printed assets.  All recruitment material development and distribution is coordinated by SPC’s Marketing and Strategic Communications (MSC) department in concert with the Admissions Department and Recruitment Services. This centralized process ensures that materials and presentations accurately represent the College’s practices, policies, and academic programs.

Recruitment materials available through MSC include printed materials (brochures, flyers, direct mail, and other pieces), advertising (newspaper, billboards, radio, digital), and digital assets (video, College website, and official College social media channels). MSC maintains a Recruitment Resources page on its Sharepoint site that collates current recruiting and marketing materials.

MSC also works with College departments to develop branded and consistent materials that can be used by departments for recruitment, such as the Community Guides for each academic program. These materials are developed in conjunction with Deans, Provosts, and subject matter experts to maintain the highest quality content and program representation. The department also ensures consistency in recruitment messaging and format by following the Branding and Identity Standards Guide.

Departments can request specific materials through the MSC Marketplace Portal, located on the College’s internal Sharpoint site, which provides a variety of options for both existing and new print, media, and websites. Once the request is received and reviewed, approved materials are then drafted and reviewed with the requesting department. MSC oversees and provides final approval of materials in conjunction with Department leads to ensure recruitment materials and presentations accurately represent the institution’s practices and policies and align with individual program and department marketing plans. The review and approval process is managed electronically, increasing efficiency and providing flexibility for College departments, while maintaining College policies, procedures, and brand standards.

Examples of Recruitment Publications

The examples shown and linked below demonstrate SPC’s consistency in recruitment messaging and branding across all forms of media. Recruitment messages promote the College’s commitment to belongingness while highlighting the College’s practices and policies, academic programs, student support resources, and benefits of higher education at SPC. Each display or link to admissions policies and procedures, including program-specific admissions and graduation requirements, adheres to the same standards across all publications. Publications also include verbiage for federal policies and guidelines such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act:

  • Direct mail flyers for prospective students detail the College’s academic degrees and certificates, including availability for online learning.
  • Websites, such as the Why Choose SPC webpage pictured below, highlight the benefits of career preparation and financial savings at SPC.



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  • Web videos, including Youtube and videos on the SPC website, highlight the benefits of SPC.


Accreditation Language

Statements in marketing and recruitment materials identifying accreditation with SACSCOC are consistently standardized with the language provided in Standard 14.1. As permitted by the SACSCOC Institutional Obligations for Public Disclosure policy statement, abbreviated accreditation statements are used on flyers and rack cards while full accreditation statements appear on all SPC websites and formal publications such as the College Catalog.


Recruitment Services and Presentations

SPC’s Recruitment Services Office provides potential students with information and personal assistance for applying and enrolling at SPC. The Recruitment Services Office consists of the director, six recruiters, and one community outreach and support coordinator.

The Recruitment Services Office promotes the College and engages with potential students by:

  • Attending community events such as open houses, expos, program information sessions, job/career fairs, conferences, and college readiness sessions to provide admissions, program, and career and college readiness information and presentations. More than 143 events were attended and/or presented in 2022, reaching 20,000+ community members.
  • Working with local high school counselors to expand high school engagement through events such as Fall application drives, county-wide marketing campaigns and presentations, and personalized outreach to students. In 2022, 75% of Pinellas County High School students completed an SPC application.
  • Attending SPC-sponsored open house events to provide information about SPC and assist with admissions.
  • Sending out targeted communications to prospective students to encourage them to apply and/or find out more about our academic programs and associated careers (see Table 10.5.3).
  • Presenting and participating in online Titans Live webinars to promote the college and academic programs.
  • Following up with prospective students via email and phone to provide information on program options, how to apply, and the next steps in the enrollment process.
  • Working with Deans on strategic ways to recruit students into specific academic programs.

As part of direct outreach to prospective students, the Recruitment department works with Marketing and Strategic Communications (MSC) to develop and launch recruitment campaigns requiring multiple marketing components, such as the 30-day Inquiry to Application plan (Table 10.5.2). This plan maintains a branded look and feel through the entire communication strategy regardless of the communication platform, and it keeps students connected to the College while they are exploring their higher education options. In 2022, inquiry-to-application conversions increased by 2.7%.

Table 10.5.3 — Inquiry to Application Marketing Plan

Days Post-inquiry
Direct Mail

Whether the topic is admissions, financial aid/scholarships, or academic programs, recruitment presentations are derived from the content in the College website. SPC recognizes that recruitment personnel must be accurate and consistent in order to be effective at communicating offerings and programs to potential students at high schools, community groups, and at local businesses. Thus, MSC provides the materials that are handed out at events, as illustrated below with a “We Are SPC” brochure created to highlight the economic impact of SPC and our mission to empower students and our community to achieve economic mobility.

Training of Admissions Recruiters

The Director of Recruitment Services, who reports to the Executive Director of Enrollment Management, oversees recruitment personnel to ensure they have the knowledge, skills, and materials to accurately represent the College’s practices and policies. Upon hire, recruiters are expected to have a minimum of two years’ experience in academic advising, admissions, marketing, and/or sales. Recruiting staff receive ongoing training (examples here and here) on policies and procedures during weekly team meetings and bi-monthly meetings with individual team members. Training topics include academic programs, admissions policies, customer service, and best practices among others. Recruiters meet with academic Deans or designees at least once per semester to develop a full understanding of their programs, and also shadow admissions personnel and academic advisors. As requirements change, such as residency documentation or financial aid protocol, the Director of Recruitment Service apprises recruiters of the evolving practices and will often include subject matter experts from other departments, such as Academic Advising, Financial Aid, Workforce, and Early College, to provide updates to the team. Recruiters also have access to weekly training led by the Academic Advising team, which encompasses a variety of areas of the College.

The Director of Recruitment Services has full oversight of materials distributed by recruiters, and provides coaching on customer service practices. The Director also reviews and approves letters and email messages sent to prospective students and oversees the prospective student portal where students can request contact by a recruiter.

In order to track progress and metrics, Recruitment Services also employs a PowerBI dashboard that gives up to date statistics on data such as application count, enrollment count, and completed inquiry to application turnover. In 2022, Recruiters completed 3,845 appointments with prospective students.

Independent Contractors for Recruitment Purposes

The Recruitment Services department does not utilize or engage with outside, independent contractors or agents for domestic recruitment activities. The department works in tandem with the International Programs office to recruit international students. The International Programs office uses 3rd party education agents to connect with prospective international students. The education agents listed below provide on-the-ground assistance to individuals in the country listed who may benefit from receiving information and help to enroll in SPC programs.

Table 10.5.4 — Independent Contractors

Organization and Contract Expiration
Country of Origin
Charlotte Knowles Thompson Agency -Expires Feb 2024
Legacy College Readiness and Tours - Expires March 2024
EDUCATION PATH CO., LTD - Expires June 2025
Ustudy Global - Expires June 2024
Latin America
Education SRO - Expires June 2024
Czech Republic
Mai San Solutions – Expires Feb 2025
International Education Development Program (IEDP) - Expires April 2024

The main contact at SPC for these agents is the Director of International Programs, and they follow the SPC international student guide when working with prospective students. Agencies receive an initial training, training handbook and can contact the Director with any questions. They may also meet up with international advisors for any questions on specific programs. This guide includes admissions checklists, policies, and procedures as well as SPC contact information. After initial contact is made with prospective students, the 3rd party agents help the student schedule an appointment with the SPC International Advisors to go over any questions or details about attending SPC. The sample agent agreement lists the roles and responsibilities of SPC and these outside education partners, as designed and drafted by the SPC Legal Office and the Director of International Programs. As required by this agreement and the training handbook, international recruitment agencies must follow the same principles and policies regarding recruitment and admissions as SPC employees, including all applicable Florida statutes.