Minimum math and English requirements in the state college and university systems could be further eased.
A minimum grade point average could be added to Florida law for students seeking associate's degrees.
And school districts would receive some compensation for high school students taking part in dual-enrollment classes at local colleges.
These are some of the recommendations under consideration by the state Higher Education Coordinating Council, which is considering a wide range of options to expand the opportunity for Florida residents to get a college degree, while making the degrees more meaningful as a step toward improving the state's work force.
Its good to have a big piece of meat on the table we can start cutting at, said council member Ed Moore, president of Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.
There are 84 recommendations before the council that could be presented to the Legislature prior to the 2012 session.
I think what is really important to us is it needs a serious rewrite where it speaks with one voice, Moore added.
- Seeking more money for workforce education.
- Expanding online technology so more students can access courses.
- Promoting more targeted degrees to keep more talent in Florida.
- Requiring the institutions of the State University System to be more specific in identifying their primary areas of research expertise.
- Requiring academic leaders from institutions within all higher education sectors to meet annually to share and discuss common issues related to enrollments, transfers, economic/business and industry needs.
State University System of Florida Chancellor Frank Brogan said many of the recommendations remain too vague. He noted that his agency staff will prioritize the list, and possibly offer alternatives, before the councils Oct. 4 meeting.
These are so general (oftentimes) the meat is not on the table because what youre getting is a snippet, Brogan said. The good news, this is September. We still have a number of months to go. We still have time to have meaningful conversations without rush.
No mention was made of how much in incentives the Florida Legislature should provide school districts for each college credit earned by high school students in acceleration programs.
For students, the big items are related to transferring from the community college level to the state university system.
Students seeking an AA degree with the intent to transfer into a four-year program must declare a major before they earn 36 hours of credit.
Also, the Gordon Rule, could see some changes. Created in 1988, the rule requires students to complete 12 credit hours of English and six credit hours of math at or above college algebra.
The council also stepped back from some proposals to make AA criteria stricter, such as tougher standards in writing. It will also propose allowing intermediate algebra courses to count toward the six hours of math.
As for the need to have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average to graduate, the recommendation is to add the requirement to state law. Currently, no minimum passing mark for the degree level is listed.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.
Most of the recommendations are not considered contentious, nor offer -- as council member Jon Moyle said -- much wow factor.
Ideas expected to be presented to lawmakers in December include: