SPRING HILL - Alycia Lane was dreading the idea of having to regularly commute two-hours to a university in Tampa once she completes her Associates of Arts at Pasco-Hernando Community College.
To complete her bachelor's degree in business management she would have to attend courses at a university and pay more in tuition, she said, which is both time and money she'd rather spend with her family in Hernando County.
"It's way too expensive down there," Lane said. "You have to leave your family, and I can't do that with my daughter at home."
Now, she won't have to. The college's board approved a new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in supervision and management and Bachelor of Science in nursing degree this week. Both will be offered beginning in August.
Along with the new degrees comes a new name for the college: Pasco-Hernando State College.
"Our new name signifies enhanced opportunities for our current and future students," said PHSC District Board of Trustees Chair, John DiRienzo, Jr. "This is a pivotal moment in our College's 41-year history. The transition to a state college is reflective of the college's enhanced mission to provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education that meets the needs of our local residents and employers."
In December, PHCC received approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Board of Directors to offer baccalaureate degrees.
College President, Katherine Johnson, said the supervision and management, and nursing baccalaureate degrees are both stable and high demand fields that will provide students advanced career opportunities.
"While the word 'community' no longer appears in our new name, the college's commitment to serve the higher education needs of residents from all of our communities has never been stronger," she said.
The Bachelor of Science degree in nursing will be offered only online and is designed for graduates with Associate in Science nursing degrees who already hold a Registered Nursing license. The program will teach additional skills in management, leadership, theory and research so graduates can be promoted within the nursing profession, according to the college. It will also prepare graduates for opportunities in leadership, management and education.
Prerequisite courses can be taken on any PHSC campus.
The Bachelor of Applied Science degree in supervision and management is designed for students with business, technology and workforce-focused Associate in Science degrees.
Students can focus in four areas: organizational administration, public safety/public service, health care management and fundamentals of supervision and management.
Several courses in this program will be available college-wide and online with the full program initially offered at the Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch in Wesley Chapel.
The fact that the business degree program will be taught in a traditional format, rather than a strictly online curriculum like the nursing degree, Lane said is a major plus.
"I won't take online courses, because it's harder, and I like the one-on-one and not talking to a computer the whole time," she said. "And at class you can ask a peer, too."
Spokeswoman for PHSC, Lucy Miller, said students, faculty, and staff held celebrations on campus Wednesday, although there is still much work to be done with the new college name. Since 1967, Hernando and Pasco counties have referred to the college by its former PHCC acronym, and communicating that change to the local community presents certain marketing challenges for the school.
"We have a lot of material, and it's probably going to take us a year to change everything out," she said regarding logo signs, banners, and paperwork. "We're really working on refreshing our brand, and working hard to communicate our new name to the community."
Miller said she recently spoke with another marketing director at another state college that recently underwent a similar name change, and it took them about two years to switch everything over.
"We're very excited about moving toward baccalaureate level degrees, but our mission is still very similar to our open door access to residents, and providing the best opportunities," said Miller. "We're still community based, and just because we're a state college, it doesn't mean we're not community focused."
Lane and other students said they hope the college's new designation as a state school will free up resources for the Spring Hill campus, and lead to new amenities such as a cafeteria, more advisors and financial aid assistance, and more computers.
"Now I can tell my daughter that mommy went to college," Lane said, "a real college."
For more information go to www.phsc.edu or call 1-855-NOW-PHSC.