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PRESS RELEASE

September 15, 2004

Jacob DiPietre
(850) 488-5394 or
Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush and Education Officials Announce Record Number of Minorities Attending Florida's Public Universities
Steady increase in minority enrollment continues without use of racial preferences

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush, Education Commissioner John Winn, Board of Governor's Chairwoman Carolyn Roberts, and State University System Chancellor Debra Austin today announced Florida's universities are enrolling more students than ever before, including record numbers of minority students. Of the students in Florida's state university system, 35% are minorities, up from 34.5% at the same time last year, and up from 32.2% in 1998.

"With the help of committed teachers and opportunities through our College Board Partnership, Florida's students are proving that racial preferences are not necessary to achieve diversity in our state university system," said Governor Bush. "I commend our universities for finding new and better ways to recruit the best and the brightest from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds."

With 14.5% of total enrollments African American students comprise about the same percentage of all state university students as they did last year (14.4%) while Hispanic enrollments are up half a percent to 15.5%. Asian American enrollment at 4.5% and Native American enrollment at 0.4% are about the same as last year.

"As we continue to increase access to advanced curriculum in Florida's high schools, more students — especially those who have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education — will gain access to college," said Commissioner Winn. "Our institutions of higher learning will be better for it."

Among freshmen, Hispanic enrollment has increased to 16% from 15.4% last year at this time and from 13.1% in 1998.

"Florida's state universities continue to offer incredible opportunities to students from all walks of life," said Chairwoman Roberts. "It is encouraging to see more of them making use of our dynamic programs."

Six out of the eleven institutions, including both UF and FSU, report increasing percentages of African American freshman enrollment, although system-wide the percentage is down slightly to 15.9% from 16.7% last year. Eight out of the eleven institutions report increased percentages of overall African American enrollment.

"All of our institutions remain very committed to expanding access to higher education in Florida," said Chancellor Austin. "The revolutionary reforms in K-12 education have created a huge demand for high-quality universities, and many of the students who are coming to us now have had access to academic preparation and financial support they didn't have 10 years ago. There are a lot more good students out there now, and many of them are from families and communities that haven't traditionally gone to college."

For more information on university enrollment for fall 2004, please see the attached charts or visit www.fldoe.org.