The U.S. Chamber of Commerce evaluated public colleges and universities in all 50 states. Florida got an overall grade of “A” for its public institutions of higher learning. The study was done by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW). Unlike other studies that looked at inputs like student acceptance rates and the amount each state spends on higher education, this study looked at outputs such as student graduation rates and graduates turning their degrees into jobs.
ICW reports, “Florida’s four-year institutions are among the nation’s leaders in credentials produced per 100 full-time equivalent undergraduates, the percentage of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants, and retention rate. The state’s two-year institutions score very high marks in credentials produced per 100 full-time equivalent undergraduates, completion rate, and retention rate, though the state performs much worse in the percentage of Pell recipients.”
In the areas of efficiency and cost effectiveness, “Florida receives a good grade in this area for four-year institutions, with a cost per completion of $46,071, which is the best of all states, and a state and local funding per completion ($41,647) slightly above the national median of $41,198. Florida’s two-year institutions fare even better with a cost per completion ($38,146) and state and local funding per completion ($21,115) in the top five of all states.”
Finally, “The median wage of a Florida bachelor’s degree holder is approximately $17,400 (or 61%) more than the median wage of a high school graduate; the overall unemployment rate for a bachelor’s degree holder is about 5 points lower. The median wage of an associate’s degree holder is approximately $8,900 (or 31%) more than the median wage of a high school graduate; the overall unemployment rate is about 3 points lower,” according to ICW.
The ICW report concludes, “Florida’s 2012–2025 strategic plan for higher education has clear goals with empirical targets including student outcomes and system efficiency. Florida has a small outcomes-based funding policy for two-year institutions but there is not a comparable system for four-year institutions. Finally, the state has an impressive articulation and credit transfer policy, including a statewide course numbering system.”