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PRESS RELEASE

March 18, 2003

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Department of Education
(850) 201-7130

Contact: Andrea Latham
(850) 201-7363

New FACTS.org services empower high school students;
Improved Web site transforms access to information

TALLAHASSEE — Underscoring Florida's commitment to providing students with the highest level of access and student services, Education Commissioner Jim Horne announced today the release of new services for high school students on www.FACTS.org — Florida's statewide student-advising Web site. The new High School Academic Evaluations allow public high school students and parents to receive individualized evaluations of students' progress toward meeting Bright Futures scholarship program eligibility and the state university course requirements for admission. Access to a course summary evaluation is also available that shows a student's high school course history and grades received.

FACTS.org is the first Web-based service that gives Florida high school students access to transcript information. "We are living in a technology driven society that requires much more to deliver educational services," said Horne. "FACTS.org makes proactive planning for college more efficient for today's student and their parents."

Connie Graunke, Executive Director for the Florida Center for Advising and Academic Support, the organization that runs the Web site said, "Students and parents now have unprecedented access to personalized academic information through the new High School Academic Evaluations. This information is vitally important as high school course decisions can affect graduation, higher ed admissions, scholarship eligibility, and if a student earns college credit while in high school. The evaluations provide an opportunity for students to take responsibility for their educational future and to plan a path that is right for them."

Through FACTS.org students and parents can utilize a variety of services that include academic and career advising, planning high school and college course work, applying online for college admissions and financial aid, choosing the right major, tracking progress and accessing transcripts and grades.

Polk County Guidance Resource Specialist Kay Noble said, "We are very excited about the High School Academic Evaluations on FACTS.org. FACTS is not only an outstanding resource for students, parents, and counselors but also revolutionizes the way students and parents monitor student progress."

The implementation of the new FACTS.org services supports the Department of Education's mission to maximize student achievement. "Users of this Web site can monitor their academic standing in order to create a plan for success," said State Board of Education Chairman Phil Handy. "We want to ensure that high school graduates are ready for college and that more high school students are eligible for accelerated options such as dual enrollment."

About FACTS.org

FACTS.org is an acronym for Florida Academic Counseling and Tracking for Students.

The Florida Legislature funded the statewide student advising system in 1998. The FACTS.org Web site provides users with comprehensive services to assist with planning and tracking educational progress in Florida. FACTS.org is administered by the Florida Center for Advising and Academic Support.