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Press Release

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Joins Education Leaders to Encourage College Completion

~ Finish Up Florida initiative to help increase the number of Americans earning postsecondary degrees ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida College System (FCS), along with 23 other members of the Complete College America Alliance, will meet March 4 – 5, 2011, in Miami to discuss a renewed focus on helping students finish their college degrees. The Alliance aims to increase the number of students earning a postsecondary credential by facilitating state policies and best practices that remove barriers to college completion. One Florida initiative, Finish Up Florida, is being launched this week with the goal of reaching out to students who left the college system without completing their studies and encouraging them to re-enroll and finish their degree.

“Our students deserve an opportunity to finish their college education, and the Finish Up, Florida initiative will provide them with a tool to help achieve that success,” said FCS Chancellor Dr. Will Holcombe. “The Florida College System stands ready with our partners to assist in making postsecondary education a reality for any student that pursues this dream.”

Representing Florida at the Alliance meeting will be Chancellor Holcombe, Sen. Stephen Wise, FCS Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Judith Bilsky, Indian River State College President Edwin Massey, North Florida Community College President John Grosskopf, and Barney Bishop, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida.

Using FACTS.org, former students can access their college records to see how many credits they need to earn to complete their degree. Finish Up, Florida contains five easy steps for students to learn what they need to do to re-enroll in a college in the FCS and complete their college experience. Each of the 28 institutions in the Florida College System has pledged support for students who need help with re-enrolling.

Over the past three years, more than 73,000 students left the FCS without completing their degree. Through Complete College America, Finish Up, Florida and other new initiatives, the FCS will work to increase the number of graduates in 2019-20 to 146,283, by more than doubling the number who graduated in 2007-08. Other efforts include improving the accuracy of student placement, streamlining curriculum delivery options, particularly in remedial courses, and working with K-12 to increase the percentage of students graduating from high school who are considered “college ready.”

According to Community College Week’s annual Top 10 report, the FCS produced the second highest number of associate degrees in the nation. They served nearly 900,000 students in 2009-10, and 61,699 associate degrees were awarded at the 28 colleges in the system. For more information about the FCS, visit www.fldoe.org/cc/.

For more information on Finish Up Florida, visit FACTS.org.