Higher Education Coordinating Council

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State College System

What is the purpose of the Florida College System?

The purpose of the Florida College System is to respond to community needs for postsecondary academic and career education. It does this by providing the first two years of academic instruction to students who may be going to colleges and universities; technical and career training instruction to students who are preparing to enter the workforce; specialized training programs to support economic development, adult general education programs to help adults acquire basic skills, and student support services such as assessment, counseling and remediation.

How many Florida College system institutions are there?

The Florida College System is made up of 28 institutions. The system comprises public postsecondary educational institutions that grant two- and four-year academic degrees as provided by law. Some of these institutions have more than one campus, resulting in 180 sites throughout the state.

What services are provided?

Florida College System institutions provide the programs described below.

  • Curriculum and instruction that leads to an associate in arts degree, an associate in science degree, or specified baccalaureate degrees.
  • College preparatory instruction to give students who do not qualify for placement into college-level courses an opportunity to bring their academic skills to the appropriate level and proceed in the community college system.
  • Career-related instruction (for example, adult vocational certificate programs), to prepare students for the workforce while emphasizing the development of qualities such as critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and effective communication.
  • Economic development services supplying businesses with well-educated and trained employees by aligning workforce education programs with identified business sector needs, establishing industry-recognized credentials in workforce training, and creating welfare-to-work transition programs.
  • Adult general education courses that help adults acquire basic skills necessary for gaining basic and functional literacy and even a high school education.
  • Student support services to help students in a variety of ways as they pursue their education.

How is policy determined at Florida College System institutions?

Each institution is under the direct control of a local board of trustees which coordinates with the State Board of Education.

Who is served by Florida College System institutions?

Florida College System institutions have an open door admissions policy allowing any person with a Florida high school diploma or GED to enroll. The Florida College System serves a large number of non-traditional students; that is, students other than those who have just graduated from high school. A high proportion of students commute to a college. In addition, many are classified as part-time students and also have full-time or part-time jobs.

How many are served?

In fall 2008, the Florida College System enrolled approximately 408,864 full-time-equivalent students in college-related programs (does not include adult education, continuing workforce education, or GED preparation students), an increase of about 24,000 students or 6% from the previous year. In Fiscal Year 2007-08, the total number of students served by all Florida College System programs was about 908,000, an increase of approximately 36,000 students from the previous year.

Are students who start in college preparatory courses and then get AA degrees generally successful in the university system?

In Fiscal Year 2007-08, the most recent data available, 76% of Florida College System students who started in college preparatory courses and then earned their associate in arts (AA) degrees and transferred to the State University System (SUS) earned at least a 2.5 grade point average in the SUS after one year. The legislatively approved performance standard for Fiscal Year 2008-09 is 75%.

Other performance measures and standards for the department may be found it its Long Range Program Plan.

How is the Florida College System funded?

Florida College System institutions are funded largely through legislative appropriations. The Legislature appropriated approximately $935 million from general revenue and the Federal Grants Trust Fund and $117 million from the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund for Fiscal Year 2009-10. Florida College System institutions receive additional funds from student tuition and matriculation fees, which totaled approximately $615 million in Fiscal Year 2008-09, an increase of nearly $70 million in fees paid by students over the previous year.

Current issues

Florida College System. In an effort to maximize open access for students, respond to community needs for postsecondary academic education and career degree education, and provide associate and baccalaureate degrees that will best meet the state’s employment needs, the Legislature established a new system of governance. The 2008 Legislature enacted Ch. 2008-52, Laws of Florida, which established the Florida College System, the Florida College System Task Force, and the State College Pilot Project. With the approval of the institution’s local board of trustees, Florida College System institutions may change the institution’s name and use the designation “college” if it has been authorized to grant baccalaureate degrees pursuant to ss. 1004.73 or 1007.33, Florida Statutes, or if it has received approval from the State Board of Education.

The Florida College System Task Force was created for the purpose of developing recommendations for the transition of community colleges to baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and for establishing and funding state colleges. The task force is also responsible for monitoring the implementation of the State College Pilot Project. This task force will be dissolved effective June 30, 2010.

College Textbooks. Florida’s college students have experienced the rising costs of textbooks. To address this, the 2008 Legislature enacted Ch. 2008-78, Laws of Florida, which addresses textbook affordability. The law instructs the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors to adopt policies and procedures that further efforts to minimize the cost of textbooks for students while maintaining the quality of education and academic freedom. The law took effect July 1, 2008.

Graduation and Progression Rates. According to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) 2009 Fact Book, Florida’s public two-year colleges lead the nation in graduation and progression rates. The Florida College System’s three-year college graduation rate of 30% is nearly double the southern region’s average of 16%, and the highest among all 16 SREB member states. At 59%, the Florida College System also leads the region in three-year student progression rates.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapter 1001, Florida Statutes.


State Univeristy System Board of Governors Florida Senate Florida House Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida Commission for Independent Education Florida Department of Education Florida College System