Florida Gulf Coast University is a four-year, 21-year-old university located in Fort Myers, Florida. You may have heard of it from "Dunk City," the men's basketball 2013 team that went to the NCAA tournament as a number-15 seed and made it to the Sweet Sixteen. They are the only men's basketball team that has done this in the NCAA tournament.

Or, you may have heard of the university because of the location. This university is located in sunny, southwest Florida where "winter" is 50-degree weather and it only lasts a couple of weeks before it's back to sunny and 75. The university itself also offers its very own "beach" for the students. It is an 80-acre freshwater lake that the university shares with a million dollar neighborhood, Miromar Lakes.

What you may not know, is what the university offers for the students and parents. The university is part of an amazing program called Soar In 4. This is an incentive program to encourage first-time-in-college students to graduate in four years. If the student graduates in four years, and checks-off a couple of other requirements, then the university will rebate the student their first-year, out-of-pocket tuition.


Yes, you read that right. FGCU will rebate the student their first year, out-of-pocket tuition. What makes it better is that the requirements are attainable and helpful to the students. Here's a look into everything the students have to do to receive their first-year tuition rebate.

1. Graduate in four years.

This is one of the major requirements for "Soar In 4." FGCU encourages their students to graduate in four years or less. They want their students to stay on schedule and be a full-time student.

2. Meeting with an academic advisor at least once a year. 

Every student at FGCU is required to meet with an academic advisor each semester, regardless if they are participating in Soar In 4. Students must meet with an advisor each semester to be able to register for their next semester's classes, and as seniors, to be able to graduate. This requirement is helpful to every student because the advisors really know what they're talking about.

3. Declaring a major the first year.

Students are required to declare a major their first year for the program to get them thinking about what they want to graduate with. The major they declare their first year, does not have to be the one they graduate with. It is just to get the student to think about their future. This way, they will be exposed to major-specific classes to see if they want to stick with that major, or change it.

4. Meeting with a career advisor in Career Development Services.

Career Development Services at FGCU is a secret treasure. This service is offered for free for students. The office offers one-hour appointments where students can take personality tests to see what they may match-up with career-wise. Students can also make appointments to develop a cover letter, resume, set-up a mock interview, and more.

5. Completing an internship or co-operative experience. 

Many majors at FGCU do require students to complete an internship within the major as is. That being said, if it does, the student can complete it already. If not, completing an internship or co-operative experience can only help you. Being exposed to the industry that you plan to work in upon graduation is so helpful.

6. Get a job in Florida within 6 months of graduation. 

This is probably one of the bigger requirements that students must complete. Within six months of graduation, you must have a job working in Florida making at least $25,000 a year. However, if you are involved at FGCU and even have completed your internship in Florida, I'm sure it will not be too difficult to find that job within six months. A few majors at FGCU even have a 99% job placement rate upon graduation.

This rebate does depend on in-state versus out-of-state students. It also is calculated person-by-person because each student may receive different scholarships, financial aid, take a different amount of credit hours, etc. But the point is, this offers students and their families the chance to save money on college. It is also a great encouragement to graduate on time!

I know I am looking forward to soaring in four! Thanks, FGCU for such a great opportunity!