The Cross-college alliance

Students of the Cross College Alliance institutions pose for a photo (Andie Chupp and Yolanda Woody of State College of Florida, William Vinopal and Megan Ruiz of Ringling College of Art & Design and Tim Thomas and Gustavo Delgado of USF Sarasota-Manatee)

With its museums, theatres, even an opera house, Southwest Florida often lays claim to the title “the Cultural Coast,” but the region might also be called “a college town.”

Concentrated along seven miles of Sarasota and Manatee counties are 23,000 students on five campuses – the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota and The Ringling/FSU.

Southwest Florida often lays claim to the title “the Cultural Coast,” but the region might also be called “a college town."

Campus leaders decided to unify this collective force in 2013 by forming the Cross College Alliance (CCA), recognizing that while each member institution is distinct, the members share a common vision: “to build a network among the region’s educational organizations that amplifies and expands learning opportunities for our students and the communities that surround us.”

It didn’t take long for the community to rally behind the CCA, garnering support from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota, the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Together, the CCA institutions had an economic impact of $657.9 million and created 11,966 jobs last year. They collaborate on programs and complement each other while maintaining their unique qualities: USF Sarasota-Manatee is a research institution, New College is an honors college, Ringling is a premiere art and design school, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota is the largest local public college and The Ringling/FSU features programs and facilities to train students in the performing arts.

The alliance offers, among other things, cross-registration in which students within the CCA can register for classes at other member institutions, job and internship assistance from career counselors, joint-research opportunities among faculty from CCA campuses and shared student life events open to all CCA students.

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