Legislation elevates the standing and visibility
of Florida’s nationally-recognized college system
Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) today filed Senate Bill 540, the Community College Competitiveness Act of 2018. The legislation supports the over 800,000 full- and part-time students of Florida’s nationally-recognized college system by expanding credit transfer options through new 2+2 targeted pathways to graduation; requiring student and faculty representation on the new state coordinating board of the community college system, and expanding strategic academic advising to help students save time and money.
“As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand how each component of our education system provides a valuable experience for our students as they learn the skills needed for a successful career. For this reason, in developing this legislation, we worked to incorporate feedback from our state colleges regarding their unique strategies for student success,” said Senator Hukill. “This comprehensive legislation seeks to further elevate Florida’s nationally-ranked community colleges through a renewed focus on student success that will lead to on-time completion of vital associate degrees and workforce credentials that prepare students for jobs in communities across our state.”
“Florida’s 2+2 college-to-university program has earned a national reputation as a model for success in higher education. With a distinct mission, separate from the role of our K-12 and state university systems, Florida’s community colleges are vital to Florida’s K-20 public education system,” said Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart). “An independent coordinating board will ensure this critical component of our state’s education and economic development infrastructure retains its dedicated local focus while elevating the statewide leadership presence needed to continue to meet the needs of growing local and regional economies throughout Florida.”
The Community College Competitiveness Act of 2018
Elevates Community College Governance and State-Level Leadership
The bill elevates the organizational prominence and affirms the distinct leadership significance of the Florida Community College System and the essential role local community colleges play in improving the quality of life and economic well-being of the state and its residents.
- Restructures state-level governance of Florida’s community college system under a state coordinating board uniquely dedicated to the advocacy and advancement of the economic, community, and professional advancement goals of Florida’s 28 community colleges.
- Restores a “State Board of Community Colleges” (SBCC) to oversee and coordinate the FCCS [local college boards of trustees retain current local autonomy and local governing authority.]
- Shifts state-level responsibilities regarding Florida community colleges from the State Board of Education to the SBCC.
- Reinforces the open-door mission of community colleges as primary access points for workforce credentials and transferable college-credit associate degrees, and the non-college-credit mission of school district technical/career centers and charter technical career centers in promoting advances and innovations in adult education and workforce preparation.
- Secures the fidelity of community college workforce bachelor degree programs that meet district, regional, and statewide workforce needs and promote economic and community development.
- Reinforces community college primary attention to, and advancement of, associate level degrees and workforce education credentials.
- Modifies and streamlines bachelor degree approval processes, timelines, and requirements.
- Provides flexibility and a pathway for planned and purposeful growth of community college bachelor degrees within an upper-level enrollment cap of no more than 20 percent of a community college’s total enrollment, not to exceed 10 percent as a system.
Reinforces K-20 Articulation Options
The bill tightens articulation policy alignment and enhances credit transfer options students may leverage in their academic plans to maximize their return on investment and minimize unnecessary coursework that results in excess hours and additional costs.
- Requires school districts to inform high school students about the specific college courses and the related college credits which students may earn through dual enrollment courses and other acceleration options.
- Creates new “2+2” targeted pathways to directly connect community college graduates with timely advising and specified bachelor degree programs at individual state universities, in accordance with the terms of the pathway agreement.
- Requires each community college to establish at least one 2+2 targeted pathway articulation agreement with at least one state university as an option for their students to have guaranteed access to bachelor degree programs at the partner university. The legislation also requires each state university to execute one or more such agreements with a community college.
- Requires state higher education policy boards to identify and eliminate barriers to executing targeted pathway agreements.
Promotes Performance and Fiscal Accountability
The bill refines performance expectations for Florida colleges and aligns their financial rewards to sustain excellence in preserving open-door access and graduating students, regardless of their level of initial academic preparedness, with college degrees and workforce credentials.
- Fine-tunes performance expectations by adjusting performance metrics and minimum standards to emphasize national excellence benchmarks and reward community college performance success in meeting core mission responsibilities.
- Focuses performance incentive funding measures: completion/graduation of full-time students, job placement of workforce education program graduates, bachelor degree attainment for transfer students, and measures of college affordability.
- Refines “Distinguished” college measures: retention, graduation, excess hours, and wages.
- Reinforces effective developmental education instructional models (i.e., college remediation) that substantially bolster the achievement, advancement, and graduation of academically underprepared students.
- Establishes an outcome-based approach to sustaining and scaling instructional and support strategies demonstrating evidence of success in retaining, progressing, transferring, and graduating Associate in Arts degree students.
- Leverages locally-established, research-based developmental education innovations and instructional strategies uniquely tailored to the needs of Florida’s community college students.
- Tightens community college relationships with their direct-support organizations’ leadership, use of funds, and public disclosure activities.