Executive Director of Communications
Statement from Florida Board of Governors regarding 'A' Grade for Sunshine State on U.S. Chamber's Report Card for Postsecondary Education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 20, 2012
STATEMENT FROM FLORIDA BOARD OF GOVERNORS
REGARDING ‘A’ GRADE FOR SUNSHINE STATE
ON U.S. CHAMBER’S REPORT CARD FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
Dean Colson of Miami, Chair of the Florida Board of Governors:
“It is gratifying to see that Florida was the only state in the nation to achieve an ‘A’ from the U.S. Chamber’s annual report card – for both four-year and two-year public institutions in the Student Access & Success category. This is yet another national recognition that our framework of accountability is taking hold, and I hope that the State’s investment in its four-year public institutions will return to a level one day so that we do not need to rely as significantly on student tuition as what has occurred during the past five consecutive years.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday released the third edition of its Leaders & Laggards series—this is the first time the report card was focused exclusively on colleges and universities: “A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education.” The report examines public colleges and universities in all 50 states, including four-year and two-year institutions, and “is designed to provide an in-depth evaluation of data and a careful analysis of postsecondary performance and policy across states.”
Only Illinois, California, Virginia, Washington and New Jersey also achieved an “A” in this category for four-year institutions—but only Florida was awarded an “A” in both four-year and two-year institutions.
The components featured in the “Student Access & Success” category are:
- The percentage of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants and need-based federal scholarships, which is “a good proxy for an institution’s commitment to providing access to low-income students,” as stated in the report.
- Retention rates. The students who return to school after their first year. Unfortunately, many students don’t persist from one year to the next.
- Completion rates. Reap the full return of an investment in postsecondary education, students must finish a credential within a reasonable amount of time. IPEDS measures the proportion of first-time, full-time degree- or certificate-seeking students who finish their credentials within 150% of the normal time to degree (three years for a two-year degree (AA) or certificate, or six years for a bachelor’s degree (BA).
- Completions per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE headcount enrollment) undergraduate students, recognizing that IPEDS* graduation rates have well-documented flaws because they cover only first-time, full-time undergraduate students, so they do not count students who transfer in and finish a degree or students who do not attend full-time (the Florida Board of Governors does, however, track these data strands). This report from the U.S. Chamber addresses this issue by weighting degrees based on their normal time to completion compared with a reference category (AA degrees for two-year colleges, BA degrees for four-year colleges), in order to address this issue.
- Risk-adjusted completion rates. The report states: “We believe that colleges should be recognized and rewarded for enrolling and graduating low-income students. Raising completion rates by excluding particular students will do little to raise our overall education attainment. Therefore, we developed a metric that measures each state’s graduation-rate performance after taking into account the percentage of first-time students that receive Pell Grants. This risk-adjusted metric essentially measures how far above or below the curve a college’s graduation rate is given how many Pell students it enrolls. We rewarded states whose postsecondary institutions performed better than expected on this measure.”
- Membership in Complete College America. There are 30 states participating in this innovative program “to increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.”
In another category – Efficiency & Cost-Effectiveness – the State University System of Florida has a cost per completion of degree at $46,071, which is the lowest in the country. At the four-year level, the national median cost per completion was more than $68,000. Florida and Texas came in well below this mark, with costs per degree of less than $50,000. Oregon, Maryland, Georgia, and Virginia also came in at under $55,000. The cost per completion data comes from the nationally renowned Delta Cost Project, and IPEDS*. It includes all funding sources for education and related expenditures. State and Local funding per completion is from IPEDS, and includes all non-federal funding.
*IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. These data are made available to students and parents through the College Navigator college search Web site and to researchers and others through the IPEDS Data Center.
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) is the education and workforce nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(3) affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ICW promotes the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America's greatest economic resource, its workforce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
About the State University System of Florida and the Florida Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is governed by a 17-member Board of Governors, a constitutional body and led by appointed public servants. The System has 12 universities and a total enrollment of nearly 330,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation in terms of enrollment (some states have more than one university system). The Florida Constitution (Article IX, Section 7) was amended by the state's voters in 2002 to establish a statewide system of governance for all Florida public universities. As a result, the Florida Board of Governors was created in 2003 to oversee the State University System of Florida. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and ensuring the well-planned coordination and operation of the System. The Board’s 17 members include 14 appointed by the Governor, with three serving by virtue of their designations (a faculty member, a Florida Student Association student representative, and the Florida Commissioner of Education). The Board of Governors appoints a Chancellor who serves as the chief executive and administrative officer of the State University System. For more, including the Board’s Annual Accountability Report that reflects important measurements for the System, see www.flbog.edu. The Board of Governors also released its 2025 Strategic Plan for the System in November 2011, also available from the home page of the web site.
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