As the new school year begins, students will be seeking advice on college preparation. Community colleges have long been the postsecondary option of choice for many students due to their accessibility and variety of course offerings. With the passage of Senate Bill 1716 during the 2008 legislative session, came changes in the Florida Community College System. Some colleges have dropped “community” from their name, while others have added “state”. These changes have left many parents and students wondering “What do these name changes mean?”, “Will I be able to get in?” In order to provide helpful information to students and parents, it is important that counselors have all the facts.
Under the new legislation, the 28 institutions which once made up the Florida Community College System are now collectively referred to as the Florida College System. With permission from the State Board of Education, institutions within the system are permitted to drop “community” from their name but not all institutions have elected to do so. The 2008 legislation also authorized a select group of pilot colleges to add “state” to their name. In recent years, ten colleges have been authorized to offer baccalaureate degrees in high need, high demand workforce majors in order to meet Florida’s employment needs. In order to reflect the increasing number of baccalaureate degree programs and expanding missions of the colleges in the system, the legislation granted the community colleges the option of changing their name. Although many colleges have expanded their program offerings to include baccalaureate degrees, each institution within the system will continue to offer career education and associate degrees while maintaining an open door mission. Students will continue to be able to access the colleges within the Florida College System by earning a standard high school diploma, GED, or CPT-Eligible Certificate of Completion. Upon admission, students are required to take the CPT, ACT, or SAT to determine placement in developmental and college-ready courses and there is no GPA or SAT/ACT score required for admission. Students who earn a special diploma may enroll in the career and technical education programs. The Florida College System is dedicated to serving students and meeting the needs of local communities.
Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Community College representatives at the Department of Education at 850-245-0407.