With the costs of tuition and housing rising like clockwork, college students face a much greater challenge simply getting the education they need to survive in these uncertain economic times. But an alternative to the high costs and often impersonal nature of large universities is soon coming to the Lake Nona area – Valencia College.
The Lake Nona Valencia campus will open its doors to students on August 27 for the first day of the Fall semester, and joins the educational mission of Valencia College and its four other regional campus locations – Osceola, Winter Park, Valencia West and East.
“Lake Nona is the future of Central Florida,” says Mike Bosley, executive dean for the Lake Nona Campus. “The industries and health service providers that are developing here will help diversify the local economy.”
Infrastructure and construction of the campus’ first of an eventual four buildings cost $21.5 million, began in May of 2011 and was completed this July. The 83,000 square foot building can accommodate around 3,500 students, but once the entire plan for the campus is met, the school anticipates serving between 8,000 to 10,000 students.
At first the Lake Nona Campus will be offering courses that will lead into the school’s Associate of Sciences degree, which focuses on advanced Math and Science courses. But Bosley says that within the next year, Valencia will be developing its curriculum for its Life Sciences Institute in cooperation with the Osceola campus.
Even with only one building complete, the college expects that between 1,500 and 2,500 students will be enrolled sometime this year with 50 percent of those being first time college students.
“Valencia has absorbed an increase in enrollment over the last several years,” says Bosley. “Valencia has always and will continue to be an excellent value in higher education.”
In addition to Valencia’s academic services for Associate degrees, the college also offers duel enrollment options for high school students seeking to earn college credit before they graduate as well as transfer programs like Direct Connect to UCF, which guarantees admission to UCF for students upon completion of their program at Valencia.
And while the opportunities that Valencia campuses across Central Florida offer are second to none, the new campus has one advantage over the rest – a hometown with a plan.
“Lake Nona has developed the Lake Nona Education Initiative,” says Bosley. “This work was supported by a collaborative group of community leaders who have laid out a plan for innovation and collaboration among the public and private schools as well as the colleges and universities.”
Despite the rising costs of state universities and colleges, Valencia College remains vigilant in its pursuit of quality teaching and community collaboration. “With small classes, convenient locations, excellent faculty, quality learning support services and low costs, you can see why Valencia was awarded the 2011 Aspen Award for Excellence in Community Colleges,” says Bosley.
By Victor Ocasio
Check out Insight’s full transcribed interview with Dr. Mike Bosley here.