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September 9, 2005

Bill Edmonds
Director of Communications
(850) 245-0466

Governor Bush and Florida Board of Governors Announce Record Enrollment in Florida's Public Universities
Florida has the highest graduation rates for African-American and Hispanic freshmen among the 10 largest states

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Board of Governors Chair Carolyn Roberts today announced record enrollment numbers for the fall semester in the State University System. At Florida's 11 institutions, enrollment on the first day of classes topped 281,000 students — a 3.1 percent increase over last year. The higher figures include enrollment of 98,264 minority students, also a 3.1 percent increase over 2004.

"These continued increases in enrollment at our universities are encouraging and reflect the commitment of the state's university system to providing more students with the opportunity to enter higher education," said Governor Bush. "Florida's universities deserve recognition for recruiting the best and the brightest from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds."

Minority students made up 35 percent of the first day enrollment maintaining last year's record percentage of minorities in the university system. First day enrollment saw its strongest gain among Hispanic students, up 7.5 percent over first day of classes in 2004 and increasing to 45,486. Since 1998, Hispanic enrollment has grown by 47.7 percent. While enrollment of African-American students decreased by 1.6 percent, with 38,922 students enrolled in the first day of classes, African-American enrollment figures are up by nearly 24 percent since 1998.

In addition to increases in minority enrollment, the graduation rate of minority students has increased. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Florida was third in overall graduation rates and first for graduation rates for African-American and Hispanic higher education students among the nation's ten largest states.

"More students are well-prepared to enter and complete their higher education," said Governor Bush. "This preparation is being reflected in a rising graduation rate in our state's university system. Not only are more students coming in, but more are staying in to get their degrees."

"I applaud our state universities for their continued commitment to expanding minority enrollment," Chair Roberts said. "Innovative recruitment efforts will go a long way to encouraging minority students to pursue a higher education, particularly as we eliminate the achievement gap in the state's K-12 system."

Governor Bush and Chair Roberts said the growth in university enrollments was fueled by Florida's success in increasing the number of high-school students taking the SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement exams. Florida has achieved huge gains in the numbers of students taking the tests, which are gateways to college admission. More than 65 percent of public high-school seniors now take the SAT, compared to 53.9 percent in 1998, and the number of Advanced Placement test-takers has increased even more rapidly, especially among minority students. Additionally, the number of African-American students in Florida's public schools participating in the Advanced Placement program has increased 179.8 percent since 1999, with Hispanic student participation seeing similar gains with a 176.7 percent increase since 1999.

To view current university enrollment data, please visit: