April 19, 2024

Florida's Colleges

The Admissions Squeeze

Students are finding it harder to get into the state's schools - and a crisis looms as the competition intensifies over the next five years.

Mike Vogel | 9/1/2006
Trend #3
Higher Student Quality

At nearly all institutions in Florida, measures of student quality for those accepted are up. At UM, 91% of students accepted for this year were in the top 10% of their class, up from 86% in 2001. At UF, 44% of accepted applicants were in the top 10th of their class, compared to just 22% in the top 10% four years ago. FSU's average GPA for incoming freshmen stayed stable, even after cutting in half the bonus points it counted toward applicants' GPAs for high school honors and dual enrollment classes. "If we used the same formula, our current GPAs would be much higher," says Janice Finney, FSU's admissions director.
The state's Bright Futures scholarship program, giving full and partial rides to the state's top students regardless of need, has kept better students in Florida who otherwise would have gone out of state -- driving up the qualifications of new freshmen and competition for seats. At USF, the number of students on Bright Futures now numbers 8.5 out of 10 compared to six out of 10 five years ago, says Robert Spatig, director of admissions at USF.

High School Graduation Facts

» The number of Florida public high school graduates increased 48% to 129,000 from 1990-91 to 2003-04, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

» Florida will see a 23% increase in the number of public high school graduates between 2002 and 2014.

» From 2014 to 2030, the number of Floridians 15 to 19 is expected to increase 30% to 1.5 million, according to the economic forecasting firm Woods & Poole, based in Washington, D.C. That age group in Florida reached 1 million only in 2000.

» Nationally, increases in high school graduates result from population growth, not significant increases in the percentage of students graduating.

» Nationally, the number of high school graduates peaked in 1976-77 at 3.15 million.

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