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December 7, 2005

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

Access Task Force Met to Discuss Preliminary Recommendations

TALLAHASSEE — Members of the Access Task Force today met in Tallahassee to discuss preliminary recommendations to present to Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida Legislature, the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors. Recommendations addressed building demand and capacity for postsecondary education and included the expansion of postsecondary education awareness and outreach programs, revised financial aid programs, financial incentives for university graduates, tuition flexibility packages for state universities and expansion of distance learning options. The public was invited to attend the meeting and present testimony.

"The impending student demand on Florida's postsecondary institutions presents both a challenge and an opportunity," said State Board of Education Chair and Access Task Force Co-chair Phil Handy. "Maximizing our limited resources will require innovative planning to ensure adequate enrollment opportunities in educational programs that will facilitate growth in Florida's economic future."

According to findings of the Access Task Force, a joint committee of the State Board of Education and the Florida Board of Governors, Florida's students are increasingly more likely to graduate from high school and immediately enroll in postsecondary education in the state. Data also show that when they do enroll, they are better prepared for postsecondary education than in the past.

The Task Force was created to propose solutions that will close the gap between employment demands of Florida's future and the supply of graduates for those high-demand fields of study.