Education Opportunities & Resources for Residents - Real Recovery
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Open: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Learn in-demand skills, get certified, start or finish a degree. Education is key to your success.

Education Opportunities & Resources at Real Recovery

Take Control of Your Success

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Alcohol and substances have sidetracked many of us in recovery, either we never had an opportunity to continue our education at a university or dropped out after a few semesters. The fortunate among us may have completed our associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate’s – the disease of addiction doesn’t discriminate or pick and choose base on socioeconomic factors such as whether we were rich, poor, came from a good home or a broken one, or if we have a GED or a Ph.D.

What matters today is how effectively we use our time in sobriety to build a brighter future for ourselves and our families. Some of the smartest, most talented, innovative, and successful people on this planet battle substance abuse issues.

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Now that you’re sober, it’s up to YOU to decide what your future looks like. Yes – money cannot buy you happiness but you sure as hell can be happy and comfortable if you’re willing to work on yourself in all the right areas – recovery, mind, body, and spirit. Anyone that says otherwise is selling you a nonsensical mentality of “scarcity.” Your potential is only limited by yourself.

At Real Recovery, we recognize that pursuing higher levels of education and learning new skills can create endless opportunities, that’s why we strongly encourage residents to take advantage of local and state programs to continue their education. It’s never too late to learn a new skill or get a degree.

Pursuing a degree and obtaining relevant certifications is one of the best ways to improve your economic mobility (ability to increase your income/social status), quality of life, become self-sufficient, learn new skills, and prepare yourself for today’s evolving job market needs.

Attending a University, College or Trade School at Low Cost or No Cost

Did you know that as a resident at Real Recovery you can receive an exemption that covers the cost of tuition and access fees to attend local colleges, trade schools, and state universities in Florida, including the University of South Florida for little to no cost? It’s true!

According to Florida’s 2020 Statutes (§ 31009.25, Fla. Stat.; 2020) “students are exempt from the payment of tuition and fees, including lab fees, at a school district that provides workforce education programs, Florida College System institution, or state university” if:

(f) A student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private shelter designed to provide temporary residence, a public or private transitional living program, or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. This includes a student who would otherwise meet the requirements of this paragraph, as determined by a college or university, but for his or her residence in college or university dormitory housing.

Schools that Offer Tuition Waivers for Sober Living Residents

The University of South Florida is a public research university in Tampa, Florida that was founded in 1956. It is part of the State University System of Florida. Located in the heart of Tampa Bay, USF is one of the nation’s fastest-rising universities, with over 50,000 students across 14 locations. The University of South Florida’s ranked #103 in 2021’s edition of Best Colleges is National Universities.

Visit USF’s Homeless Tuition Waiver page to check eligibility requirements and learn more about this program.

How to check eligibility and qualify:

  1. Contact USF’s Student Outreach and Support department at 813-974-6130 or via email at
  2. Provide documentation from a homeless shelter or transitional housing liaison.
  3. Reach out to complete the “Homeless Fee Exemption Request Form”.
  4. Documentation is due to the “Homeless Committee” before the end of the first week (drop/add) each semester of enrollment. Paperwork can be submitted to SOS (SVC 2058) or by email to

Note: This exemption only covers tuition and access fees. If you qualify, you will be required to pay other costs such as repeat course surcharges, excess credit hour fees, textbooks, living expenses, etc.

Founded in 1927, St. Petersburg College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, including many high-demand, high-skill industry-recognized workforce certifications, and more than 20 bachelor’s degrees. St. Petersburg College (SPC) alumni rank first in Florida for earning the highest entry wages.

Visit SPC’s Homeless Fee Exemption page to check eligibility requirements and learn more about this program. You will need to carefully review and follow the steps outlined on SPC’s Homeless Fee Exemption page. 

What does the exemption cover?

This exemption only covers tuition and access fees. It does not cover lab fees, books, supplies, living costs, etc.

If you need assistance, contact: Sandy Albright at 727-302-6516 or

Founded in 1968 as a part of the 28-member Florida College System, Hillsborough Community College is located in Tampa, Florida dedicated to preparing local students for today’s increasingly demanding job market by creating an engaging learning environment.

HCC educates more than 47,000 students each year, across more than 190 academic options. With more than 2,200 dedicated faculty and staff members, HCC is by no means a small college. Many students attend HCC to study popular majors like Liberal Arts and Humanities, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT Paramedic), and Nursing.

Admissions Contact Information for Hillsborough Community College

Unlike SPC or USF, Hillsborough Community College doesn’t have much information online regarding the homeless tuition waiver program. They do participate in the program; however, you’ll need to reach out to admissions to get more information.

Feel free to speak with one of their helpful staff members by phone at 1-813-253-7000 or via email for assistance.


Monday and Tuesday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (in-person and virtual) 4:30 p.m .- 7 p.m. (virtual only)
Wednesday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (in-person and virtual)

Download HCC’s Status for Exemption Form.

Pasco-Hernando State College combines high-tech educational facilities and state-of-the-art programs with a focus on teaching for student success. PHSC has 70+ career program options and offers Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, College Credit Certificate, Career Certificate, and Applied Technology Diploma.

Pasco-Hernando State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.

Admissions Contact Information for Pasco-Hernando State College

Unlike SPC, HCC, or USF; PHSC doesn’t have much information online regarding the homeless tuition waiver program. They do participate in the program; however, you’ll need to reach out to admissions to get more information.

Feel free to speak with one of their helpful staff members by phone at 1-727-847-2727 or via email for assistance.


Monday and Thursday: 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (in-person and virtual)
Fridays– Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (in-person and virtual)

Download PHSC’s Status for Exemption Form.

If you’re interested in continuing your education, our dedicated staff will help you make that a reality. This is one area we cover during intake where we discuss your goals – recovery, personal, professional, and education-wise.

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Great Free Online Courses

Virtually everyone with a smartphone or a laptop and an internet connection can teach themselves new high-paying skills that are in great demand across today’s digital workforce.

In-Demand Careers You Can
Learn Online for Free

A decade ago, most people were forced to spend 4 years or more in a University classroom and pay anywhere from $40,000 – $100,000 to learn the skills required to land most high-paying jobs. Fortunately, thanks to the Internet times have changed.

Today, you can learn the lucrative digital skills for today’s fasting growing careers at your own pace, without spending thousands of dollars or hours every day in a classroom. That’s because many of these job skills can be learned online for free or at least without costing you an arm and a leg.

If you’re looking for work, are not happy with your current career prospects, or simply want to make more money to provide a better life for you and your family, we encourage you to do some research and check out the resources below. You may be surprised to find that starting a new career or getting a better job isn’t as difficult as you think with the right skills in our technology-focused economy.

Do you know how to use a computer, or are willing to learn? One of the highest paying and in-demand jobs in the United States centers around Salesforce. Salesforce is the world’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) solution. According to a recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), there has been a huge increase in jobs that require Salesforce skills, and the Salesforce ecosystem is predicted to add 3.3 million new jobs and over $850 billion in revenues worldwide by 2022.

Why does any of this matter? Simple – in as little as six weeks virtually anyone with a healthy amount of motivation and a laptop can learn a new career that pays well. One of our residents went from zero experience with Salesforce to a $48,000/year salary (~$23/hr) position, full benefits included, in a matter of six months. Here are some stats to consider:

      • $95,000 – the average Salesforce Administrator salary in the US (US data)
      • 37% year over year job growth rate (US data)
      • 4,670 new Salesforce jobs created in the last 12 months (US data)

The time to prepare for a Salesforce certification depends on the experience of the individual. If you are completely new to Salesforce, you can expect to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week if you want to become a Salesforce Certified Administrator in as little as 6 weeks.

See What Our Residents Have to Say About Real Recovery

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Many of us were bruised, battered, and broken when we arrived at sobriety’s doorstep; today, we’ve regained our dignity, family, friends, careers, and our passion in life.

Real Recovery has helped hundreds of men build a strong foundation in recovery; if you’re struggling, now is the time to ask for help. Take 2-minutes and complete our admissions form, it may save your life.