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Santa Fe College

Santa Fe College

Santa Fe College was founded in 1966 as an open-door college; our admissions policy has always been inclusive and unlimited. This year, Santa Fe College and the Santa Fe College Foundation are launching a new campaign to ensure that the doors of opportunity swing even wider, for everyone. This means growing our downtown campus for local populations that need expanded access to education and providing significantly more scholarships to benefit the students in Alachua and Bradford counties who are facing financial barriers.

Along with financial support, this campaign will rely heavily on the commitments that our faculty, staff and the community make to our students every day, in every interaction. When it comes to Opening Doors, we all hold the key.

For the fourth year in a row, Santa Fe College earned a gold status rating from the state of Florida, scoring higher than every other college in the State College System. This was determined by our high graduation rates, increased retention rates and a 96 percent job placement rate. In 2015, SF won the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which made SF the No. 1 community college in the nation.

Our students and our faculty are the key to our success.

Offering personalized advising and distinctive classroom experiences, the SF Honors Program engages students to be partners in their learning process – developing critical thinking skills, promoting civic engagement and traveling farther down a path of lifelong learning. Many students receive scholarships for SF and after transferring to other institutions. Honors class sizes are among the smallest at the college; students are encouraged to challenge each other and to take a turn at teaching.

SF also has Emerging Leaders and Engaged Leaders programs that allow students to network with leaders on campus and within the community, developing their own leadership skills and expanding their personal and professional development.

While you can earn one of nine bachelor’s degrees offered at Santa Fe College, SF also helps students transfer into and graduate from other four-year schools at a rate more than double the national average. As a part of the SF2Universities program, SF graduates are guaranteed admission into the University of North Florida, Florida A&M University and the University of South Florida. But the majority of SF students transfer to our best partner, the University of Florida. UF admits more students from Santa Fe College than from any other college.

Francisco Lourenco, A.A. Health Sciences, ‘17

After I graduated from Santa Fe, I went to Boston for an internship at the Stem Cell Institute at Harvard University. I learned there that I got the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, the second time I applied, and then I was able to start at UF. Now I’m studying Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. I’m applying to medical school next summer. When I was growing up in Brazil, I failed every year of high school because of not showing up to class, which is evidence to the lack of mentorship I had and the problems of violence in the unfortunate environment where I lived. But at Santa Fe, I met people who were willing to support me and help me regardless of who I was. I’ll never forget meeting Bobby Hom, the Honors Program advisor. He gave me a sense of safety right away – that I could open up about my classes and my personal life. I had so much gratitude when I met Bobby, Chief Ed Book [from the SF police department], and all my professors – especially when I compared them to how it was growing up.

Getting a college degree is an important milestone in developing any successful career path, but there’s no reason why it should put a student thousands of dollars in debt before they earn their first paycheck. Santa Fe College students can earn an associate degree at a fraction of what it would cost to complete their first two years at a state or private college. And apprenticeships often offset the cost of college entirely. Bachelor’s degrees offered at SF are not only affordable – some cost less than $10,000 – they prepare students to enter the workforce in high-demand fields.

SF opens doors to both our students and the community. Students get hands-on training from qualified instructors at an accredited college, giving them the skill set and the degree they need to become the first responders, educators, health care professionals, plumbers, computer programmers and more – jobs that are available right here in our community.


All of SF’s Career and Technical programs consult with area businesses to craft curriculum, giving graduates the skills employers want. Scholarships and apprenticeships are available, including several just for women.


Health Sciences programs offer bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certificate programs that can have graduates working in the health care industry in as little as 10 months. SF’s Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting tracks were accredited by the American Dental Association over 40 years ago. You probably know one of our graduates!

Habitat for Humanity House Photo

In 2019, the ninth home built by SF students will be delivered to a family in North Central Florida. Each year, Santa Fe College donates a house to Habitat for Humanity that has been built by students in the Charles R. Perry Construction Institute.

Graphic Design Photo

Santa Fe College’s A.S. degree in graphic design and the B.A.S. degree in Multimedia and Video Production Technology both allow you to flex your creative muscles, master the most up-to-date software and develop your personal style as you prepare to enter the workforce.

Ulysses Fann, Systems and Datacenter Manager

Education changed my life. I’m from the inner city; I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn. It was pretty rough in our neighborhood. My mom moved her two youngest boys – that’s me and my brother Eric – to Florida to get a change of scenery and move closer to her family. It worked out pretty well. She’s proud of me. Now, I work in ITS. I’m the Systems and Datacenter Manager at Santa Fe College. So many doors have been opened for me at Santa Fe and friendships and connections made that I just would not have had. There’s no comparison as far as impact on my life.

In addition to the Northwest Campus near I-75 and 39th Avenue in Gainesville, Santa Fe College has six centers positioned across Alachua and Bradford counties. Thanks to the vision and generosity of several families in the community, the college centers have been strategically located so that anyone within SF’s service area can have access to a quality and affordable education with about a 20-minute drive or less.

Perry Center Labs

Alachua County is home to a growing number of biotech companies, where SF students have opportunities to intern while earning their degrees and to apply full-time after graduation. The Perry Center is located near Progress Park in the city of Alachua and is home to SF’s biotech programs.

Watson Center Shoot

The Watson Center in Keystone Heights boasts a state-of-the-art science lab and a 40-acre preserve known as Watson Woods.

Andrews Center

The Andrews Center in Starke provides Bradford County students classes in three buildings, including the historic Bradford County Courthouse and the Andrews Cultural Center.

UB Rocket Launch

Archer’s Davis Center provides associate degrees, and also offers students in southwestern Alachua County the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school with dual-enrollment classes.

See Also

IPS Flag Raising

The Kirkpatrick Center in East Gainesville recently underwent an $8 million expansion and provides state-of-the-art scenario-based training for law enforcement and paramedics, making it the premiere training facility in the state.

The Blount Campus in downtown Gainesville is in the process of a $36 million renovation that will make it an integral part of the Innovation Hub, working with the University of Florida and businesses in the region. The Blount Campus will also serve as the home for many of SF’s Business and Computer degree programs and offer STEM degrees for under-represented communities in East Gainesville.

Patsy Blount, Board of Directors, SF Foundation

There was so much groundwork, dreaming and vision that went into the fruition of what we’re seeing at the downtown campus. I think Charlie [Blount] would be so pleased at the opportunity this will provide for students in an ongoing way for years and years to come. It will have an impact on the community, and I think there will be a synergistic relationship that will impact the college, Gainesville, the University and students.

Santa Fe College is committed to preparing globally competent and competitive students who will excel in the midst of rapid globalization, adapt to an ever-changing world and effect positive change. One in 10 students on campus are from another country, including Fulbright scholars. SF offers foreign language instruction, dozens of courses with international content, and a rich set of extracurricular activities with a global focus.

Students can expand their educational horizons with immersive international experiences through study abroad. These programs allow you to earn college credits while traveling to places like Brazil, the British Isles, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Spain and Portugal, South Africa and Sweden. Study abroad students travel with a faculty member and trips are planned during spring break or shortly after the spring term ends.

SF also offers a certificate in International Studies to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the history, politics, economics and languages of cultures beyond the borders of the United States.

The new International Center, located in Building S on SF’s Northwest Campus, allows domestic and international students to interact with each other and get the services they need. From F1 Visa support, to advising, study abroad opportunities and more, SF opens doors to a whole new world.

Joudi Ayroud, A.A. Political Science

I left Syria before the war started, but it will forever have a piece of my heart. It’s not easy to live there. There’s no electricity, no water. There are bombings everywhere. My cousins who are still there weren’t allowed to go to school for a while. When they finally could, they knew they might not come back home, so they had to say goodbye in the morning. And that is always on my mind. Every single decision I’ve made, I’ve thought: This will be the opportunity to share my culture, to share my beliefs, to eliminate stereotypes about Syrians. Even since I was a little kid, this has always been something within me. One day, my dream is to work at the UN. I want to represent Syria there.

Santa Fe College has a long history of supporting and promoting the creative arts. Many graduates from the college’s music, dance, theatre and graphic arts programs have launched successful careers in our local community and beyond. The NW campus is home to several art galleries where a rotation of exhibits fills the college calendar. The SF Fine Arts Hall features both student performances and the SF’s Master Artist Series, which brings world-renowned talent to the college both for classroom discussion and to benefit the public.

The college also elevates the arts beyond its doors. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Spring Arts Festival. In 1969, at what is now the Thomas Center, the festival first came to life. Most area residents recognize the festival as an event that transforms the streets of downtown Gainesville every year, but it also shapes the philosophy of the college. The early influence of the expressive, artistic faculty that first started the festival also helped shape the college. It led to a strong “student-first” mentality that remains evident today in smaller class sizes, classrooms, and in the curriculum used at the college.

Eleanor Blair and Steve Howell, Artists, SF Spring Arts Festival Participants

Eleanor: “The phenomenon of the Spring Arts Festival for me was that a whole new world opened up. We’ve created a mutually beneficial environment for creators of art and lovers of art. There’s a lot of people who would never go to a gallery that will come to the festival. What it’s done over the decades is — not only provided a marvelous platform for artists to display their work and connect with people who might want to purchase something and keep an artist alive — but it’s educating the public.”

Steve: “It’s a yin and a yang in that the artist is mostly a solitary figure, but at the same time, is a viable, positive member of the community. And the Spring Arts show is a place to bring that all together.”

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