OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Education System

State University System

What is the purpose of the State University System?

The purpose of the State University System (SUS) is to provide high quality academic degree programs to meet state economic and workforce needs, innovative research to address global problems, and community outreach to improve the quality of life for Floridians.

How many universities are included in the State University System?

Florida's public university system includes 12 universities with an enrollment of more than 300,000 students, and more than 60,000 faculty and staff. The SUS also includes two fiscally autonomous campuses of the University of South Florida (the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee).

What is the governance structure for the State University System?

As required by Article IX, Section 7(d), Constitution of the State of Florida, the State University System is governed by the Board of Governors (BOG). Each State University System institution has a 13-member Board of Trustees dedicated to the purposes of the state university system. Each state university's Board of Trustees has the fiduciary responsibility for overseeing university operations, establishing cost-effective policies or regulations consistent with Board of Governors' regulations or guidelines, and implementing and maintaining high-quality education programs in accordance with the university's mission.

What types of degrees are offered by the 12 State Universities?

The State University System offers Bachelor's, Master's, Specialist, Professional Doctorate, and Research Doctorate degrees.
The Board of Governors maintains a complete list of all degrees available at state universities on its website.

Which State Universities offer professional degrees?

The State University System offers ten professional degrees across the 12 universities. The professional degrees offered include Architecture, Business, Dental, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary.
The Board of Governors maintains a complete list of all the professional degrees offered across the state universities on its website.

How are the State Universities' performance assessed?

A three-part accountability framework is used to track the performance and plan of action for each state university. Each state university produces an Annual Accountability Report to track performance on key metrics over the past five years. In addition to the Annual Report, each state university produces a University Work Plan that provides a short-term plan of action for the next three years. Lastly, the System-Wide Strategic Plan, provides a long-range roadmap for the System's goals.
Each of these accountability tools is used to annually assess the performance of postsecondary education within the State University System.

What is the Performance-Based Model?

Chapter 2018-4,Laws of Florida, codified the State University System performance-based incentive. Performance funds are awarded to state universities based on a performance-funding model developed and approved by the Board of Governors as referenced in s. 1001.92, Florida Statutes.
For 2018-19, the funds will be allocated based on the following ten metrics.  Two of the 10 metrics are Choice metrics; one picked by the Board of Governors (Metric 9) and one by the university Board of Trustees (Metric 10).
1. Percent of Bachelor's Graduates Employed and/or Continuing their Education Further One Year After Graduation.
2. Median Wages of Bachelor's Graduates Employed Full-time One Year after Graduation.
3. Net Tuition and Fees per 120 Credit Hours.
4. Four-year Graduation Rate (fulltime FTIC).
5. Academic Progress Rate (second year retention with GPA above 2.0).
6. Bachelor's Degrees Awarded in Areas of Strategic Emphasis (includes STEM).
7. University Access Rate (percent of undergraduates with a Pell grant).
8. a. Graduate Degrees Awarded in Areas of Strategic Emphasis (includes STEM).
b. Freshman in Top 10% of Graduating High School Class (alternative metric for NCF only).
9. Percent of Bachelor's Degrees Without Excess Hours.
10. Board of Trustees Choice (this metric is specific to strategic emphasis at each SUS institution).
The Board of Governors evaluates universities on the excellence or improvement for each metric based on prior year data and calculates a total score for each university. To be eligible to receive state investment funding, universities have to score a minimum of 51 out of 100 points and not be one of the three lowest scored universities.

What are Preeminent State Research Universities?

The 2013 Legislature established the preeminent state research universities program. The Board of Governors designates each state university that annually meets at least 11 of the 12 academic and research excellence standards identified in s. 1001.7065, Florida Statutes, as a preeminent state research university. The Board of Governors designates each state university that annually meets at least 6 of the 12 academic and research excellence standards identified in s. 1001.7065, Florida Statutes, as an emerging preeminent state research university.
A university that meets all 12 of the standards must submit a five-year benchmark plan with target rankings on key performance metrics for national excellence to the Board of Governors. Once approved, the Board of Governors will award the university an amount specified in the General Appropriations Act.
The 2018 Legislature enacted Ch. 2018-4, Laws of Florida, changing the 6-year graduation rate preeminence standard to a 4-year graduation rate of 60% or higher for full-time, first-time-in-college (FTIC) students.  However, for the 2018 determination of a state university's preeminence designation and the related distribution of 2018-19 preeminence and emerging preeminence funding, a university is considered to have satisfied the graduation rate measure by attaining a 6-year graduation rate of 70% or higher by October 1, 2017.  Furthermore, beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year, each designated emerging preeminent state research university will receive one-fourth of the additional funding awarded to each designated preeminent state research university.
The University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida have been designated preeminent universities.
The Board of Governors provides additional information on the preeminent research universities program in the System Summary of University Work Plans.

What are Emerging Preeminent Research Universities?

In 2016, Ch. 2016-237, Laws of Florida, amended s. 1001.7065, Florida Statutes, to create the designation of an emerging preeminent state research university, which applies to state universities meeting at least 6 of the 12 academic and research excellence standards identified in law. Preeminent and emerging preeminent universities must also submit a five-year plan with target rankings on key performance metrics for national excellence to the Board of Governors. If universities meet these goals annually, the board can award universities an amount specified in the General Appropriations Act. 
The University of Central Florida has been designated as an emerging preeminent university.

How are these activities funded?

The two recurring sources of funding for state universities are state appropriations (from General Revenue often combined with Lottery) and student tuition.  The portion of the state universities' budget appropriated by the Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor is called Education & General (E&G), or state base operating funds.
For more information, all of the components of the state university system's budget is detailed in the Fiscal Summary section of the Annual Accountability Report. Information on components of a specific state university's budget can be found by viewing the fact book for each institution on the State University System's website.

Updates

Capital Outlay Facilities Space Needs Review of State Universities and Florida Colleges. The 2019 Legislature enacted Chapter 2019-115, Laws of Florida, directing OPPAGA to contract with an independent third party consulting firm to conduct a review of the processes used to determine capital outlay facilities space needs of state universities and Florida colleges. The review must evaluate whether state-level processes and those used by individual institutions are consistent with each institution's overall mission and support state-level goals. The review will examine space and utilization factors to determine whether they accurately reflect deficits or surpluses of each type of space and result in the most efficient and effective use of space. The review will also assess the extent to which each institution efficiently and effectively utilizes its current space.
The report must present the consultant's findings and make specific recommendations to improve the processes used to identify capital outlay projects for state funding, identify any changes or alternatives to ensure that current space and utilization factors represent optimum space requirements, and describe how each institution could use its current space more efficiently and effectively. The report is due November 15, 2019.
Florida Colleges and State Universities Public Education Capital Outlay. The 2019 Legislature enacted Chapter 2019-103, Laws of Florida, which requires the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors to develop and submit a prioritized list of capital projects that should consider the top two priority projects of each Florida College System Institution and state university.  In addition, the boards must develop a points-based prioritization method, requiring weighted values within the point scale to rank projects based on specified criteria. The law further requires the boards to maintain a list of capital outlay projects for which state funds have been appropriated but which have not been completed. Finally, the law requires the boards to review their space need calculation methodologies and to present summary and preliminary recommendations to the legislature by October 31, 2019, and every three years thereafter.
Revision of Performance-Based Funding Model. From the funds provided in Specific Appropriations 160 through 167 of Chapter 2019-103, Laws of Florida, the Board of Governors, in consultation with the state universities, will be required to develop recommendations for future implementation of separate and distinct performance-based funding models with benchmarks and metrics for (1) preeminent universities, (2) emerging preeminent universities, (3) regional universities and (4) mission-specific universities. The model should recognize each university's continuous improvement and achievement of institutional and national excellence.  The Board of Governors will be required to send a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 1, 2019.  The implementation of any recommendations shall not occur unless affirmatively enacted by the Legislature.
University of South Florida Branch Campuses. The 2018 Legislature enacted Ch. 2018-4, Laws of Florida, requiring that the University of South Florida (USF) phase out the separate accreditations for each of its three campuses no later than June 30, 2020, and by July 1, 2020, operate under a single institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
A task force will develop recommendations to improve service to students and assist with the phasing out of the separate accreditations. By February 15, 2019, the task force must submit a report to the USF Board of Trustees with recommendations and the board must adopt the recommendations no later than March 15, 2019.
Calculation for performance funding on metrics of graduation and retention rate for USF will not include
  • students who dis-enrolled from USF campuses without graduating before the termination of the separate accreditations; and
  • students admitted or enrolled before spring 2020 semester as FTIC student at USF St. Petersburg or USF Sarasota/Manatee.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Review of the Capital Outlay Facilities Space of Florida's State University System, Report 20-SUSFACI, February 2020
Review of the Capital Outlay Facilities Space of Florida's College System, Report 20-FCSFACI, June 2020
Approximately 42% of Nursing Programs Had Licensure Exam Passage Rates Below the Required Legislative Standard in 2016, Report 17-07, June 2017

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
State University System of Florida Annual Report 2018-19, Office of Inspector General and Director of Compliance.
Board of Governors - Office of Inspector General's Internal Audit Activity - For the Review Period July 2017 Through June 2018, Auditor General Report No. 2019-052, November 2018.
State University System - Board of Governors - Operational Audit, Auditor General Report No. 2017-048, November 2016.
Board of Governors - Office of Inspector General's Internal Audit Activity - For the Review Period July 2014 Through June 2015 - Quality Assessment Review, Auditor General Report No. 2016-063, December 2015.
Board of Governors - Office of Inspector General's Internal Audit Activity - Quality Assessment Review - For the Review Period July 2011 Through August 2012, Auditor General Report No. 2013-188, June 2013.
The Auditor General reports on university operations are available on its website.
Expenditure Analysis Reports, State University System
Operating Budget Reports, State University System
Baccalaureate Follow-Up Study: employment and Education Outcomes One, Five, and Ten Years After Graduation, State University System of Florida, January 2018.
Measuring the Economic Success of Florida's Graduates Economic Security Report 2017, College Measures, December 2017.
Websites of Interest
State University System, University Accountability Plans
State University System, Interactive University Data
State University System, University Facts Books
State University System, Strategic Plan
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for universities may be found in the Board of Governor's strategic plan and accountability reports.
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article IX, Section 7(d), Constitution of the State of Florida; and Chs. 1001 Part IV and 1004 Part II, and ss. 1009.24 and 1001.7065, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Florida Board of Governors, State University System, 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1614, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399-0400, 850-245-0466, email:  info@flbog.edu
Website