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Press Release

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida’s Colleges Lead the Nation in Graduation and Progression Rates
~ Fact Book highlights Sunshine State’s high marks for two measures ~

TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s public two-year colleges lead the nation in graduation and progression rates, according to a recent release of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) 2009 Fact Book. The Fact Book, one of the nation’s leading sources of comparative higher education data, annually summarizes and reports key higher education data for each of the Region’s 16-member states.

“This report confirms our college’s ongoing commitment to excellence and student success as we meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Our colleges have long supported the state’s mission of preparing every student to face the challenges of our current global workplace, and this national recognition will only strengthen that drive.”

The Florida College System’s three-year college graduation rate of 30 percent is nearly double the southern region’s average of 16 percent, and the highest among all 16 SREB member states. Florida’s average also greatly exceeds the national average of 20 percent. These rates are inclusive of full-time freshmen who first enrolled in public two-year colleges to pursue an associate’s degree or vocational certificate.

Florida’s College System is also touted for leading the region in three-year student progression rates. This measure tracks full-time freshmen enrolled in degree or certificate programs who graduated, were still enrolled, or who transferred to another college within three years. At 59 percent, the state’s progression rate is the highest in the region, and 12 percentage points above the SREB state average. This reflects a 14-point increase in student success rates since 1999.

The Southern Regional Education Board is an Atlanta-based organization to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. Florida is a member of the SREB, among 15 other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. To view the 2009 Fact Book, visit http://www.sreb.org/Main/EdData/FactBook/2009StateReports/Florida09.pdf (PDF).