Since 1992, two of the five goals guiding the University of Central Florida have focused on the importance of international programs and activities to the university.

A new program will “jump start” those goals and draw some of the best international students to UCF. Partnering with Shorelight Education, UCF will create an innovative partnership to bring students from around the world to the university.

“This program will benefit our Florida students as well as our new international students,” said UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Waldrop. “Our in-state students will be immersed in different perspectives, cultures and ideas. It will prepare them for competing in the global economy and workforce.”

Details are still being finalized, but an agreement is expected soon. This is among the first U.S. partnerships for Shorelight Education, a Boston-based higher education company.

“We invest in partnerships with great institutions that are both student-focused and innovative,” said Tom Dretler, CEO and Co-Founder of Shorelight Education. “UCF is recognized nationally not just for its size, but for the quality education it provides students.”

The new program would start in summer 2014 with about 60 students who will be admitted following a rigorous screening process. The students in this program will be in addition to UCF’s traditional students – no qualified in-state or out-of-state students will be denied acceptance to UCF because of this program.

New international students in the program will embark on an intensive first-year experience that provides them the academic, social, and language skills to succeed in a UCF bachelor’s degree program in a variety of fields including sciences, engineering, business, and the humanities.

“When international students come to the U.S. to study, they make personal and business connections that last a lifetime,” Waldrop said. “They are also global ambassadors for their universities and regions, and we look forward to international students helping to promote the university and Central Florida region.”

Shorelight, which will cover all of the start-up costs, will jointly manage the program with UCF. The university will maintain control of all academic matters, ensuring that the program meets UCF’s academic standards, including those impacting curriculum, admission criteria, faculty qualifications and student success measures.
There are currently about 2,100 international students at UCF of the university’s more than 60,000 students. Many large and prestigious universities, such as Columbia University, Stanford University and Cornell University, boast that more than 20 percent of their students come from other countries.

“Great American universities attract the best and brightest students from every corner of the globe,” Dretler said.  “This partnership is another big win for the students of an institution that is clearly on the move.”

Shorelight Education is a U.S.-based education company that funds and manages joint venture partnerships with universities to drive their global ambitions and expand options for students.  Shorelight currently operates university partnerships in the US and the UK with University of Central Florida (Orlando, US) Fordham University (New York City, US) and Bath Spa University (Bath, UK). For more information, visit