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Florida represents a bright spot in "sobering" national higher ed report card

In the midst of budget cuts and tuition struggles and scrutiny like never before, here comes a bit of good news for Florida's university system:

Report cards are out, and Florida got an A. Several A's, in fact.

That's the conclusion of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's third annual state-by-state report card on public postsecondary education, released Wednesday. Florida was one of just a handful of states that were highlighted as bright spots in an otherwise troubling national snapshot. (Click here to see the full results).

Problems across the country include completion rates at four-year public colleges hovering around just 50 percent at a time of scarce resources, little means of measuring the quality of programs, and the inability to show students and taxpayers how their education translates to jobs, a U.S. Chamber news release states.

However, it continues, several states -- including Florida -- have "emerged as national leaders on certain measures."

Florida got an A grade in the categories of student access and success, for both four-year and two year institutions; efficiency and cost-effectiveness for two-year colleges; and for online innovation. It lagged in a category for openness, with the report citing Florida's "fairly restrictive regulations," and it has room for improvement in terms of measuring student outcomes and giving consumers more information.

The news comes as the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees Florida's public universities, holds its biggest meeting of the year in Orlando -- listening to each institution's plans for the future in advance of new tuition increase requests.

Posted by Kim Wilmath at 10:17:37 am on June 20, 2012