Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Education System

What are the guiding principles of Florida's education system?

The guiding principles for Florida's K-20 education system are to provide a coordinated, seamless system for kindergarten through graduate school that is student-centered, maximizes education access, and allows the opportunity for a high quality education for all Floridians.

What are the components of Florida's public education system?

Florida's public education system consists of several components.
  • Florida's Early Learning Programs primarily consist of Voluntary Prekindergarten and School Readiness. These programs are designed to increase children's chances of achieving future educational success and becoming productive members of society. The administration of the state's early learning programs includes the Division of Early Learning within the Department of Education at the state level and early learning coalitions at the local level.
  • Florida's public schools provide education for kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school children. Some public schools also provide prekindergarten programs. In addition, public schools provide special classes such as adult education and certificate programs. Public schools and their programs operate under control of local school boards. In addition, developmental research (laboratory) schools operate in affiliation with state universities and are designed to provide a vehicle for research, demonstration, and evaluation regarding management, teaching, and learning.
  • The Florida College System consists of 28 public colleges operated by local boards of trustees, under specific authority and regulations of the State Board of Education. The colleges offer courses and programs of general and academic education equivalent to the first two years of work in state universities. Florida's public colleges also offer career education, including associate in science degrees and certificate programs, adult education, and continuing career education. Twenty-seven Florida colleges currently are approved to offer bachelor's degree programs.
  • The State University System consists of 12 state-supported educational institutions offering baccalaureate degrees and above that are authorized and established by law.

What are the general responsibilities of the Department of Education and the Board of Governors?

More detailed information on the governance of Florida's educational system is available in the program summaries for the State Board of Education and Board of Governors.

How are these activities funded?

As part of the Department of Education's appropriation, local revenue for K-12 school support is derived almost entirely from property taxes levied by Florida's 67 counties, each of which constitutes a school district. Total required local effort for Fiscal Year 2021-22, is over $8 billion.

The source of funding for public higher education includes state general revenue, student tuition and fees, as well as other funds.

State universities are authorized to charge resident undergraduate tuition of $105.07 per credit hour (s. 1009.24, Florida Statutes). More detailed funding information on state universities is available in the State University System summary.

Institutions in the Florida College System are authorized to charge the standard tuition fee of $71.98 per credit hour for residents, and for nonresidents an additional out-of-state fee of $215.94 per credit hour, for advanced and professional, postsecondary vocational, college preparatory, and educator preparation institute programs. Institutions charge $91.79 per credit hour for resident tuition for baccalaureate degree programs (s. 1009.23, Florida Statutes).

For career education programs, school districts and technical centers are authorized to charge the standard tuition fee of $2.33 per contact hour for residents and nonresidents and the out-of-state fee of $6.99 per contact hour for programs leading to a career certificate or an applied technology diploma (s. 1009.22, Florida Statutes).

The Department of Education's appropriation also includes funds for private colleges and universities. The purpose is to enhance Florida student access to programs at private colleges and universities or fund specific programs offered by private colleges and universities.

Fiscal Year: 2021-22
Fund Dollars Positions
EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF
BLIND SERVICES, DIVISION OF
57,524,020
289.75
EARLY LEARNING
PROGRAM: EARLY LEARNING SERVICES
4,404,512,872
98.00
FLORIDA COLLEGES, DIVISION OF
PROGRAM: FLORIDA COLLEGES
1,362,458,227
.00
OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
PROGRAM: STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM - FEDERAL
105,000
.00
PROGRAM: STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM - STATE
982,360,586
.00
PROGRAM: EDUCATION - FIXED CAPITAL OUTLAY
1,635,136,672
.00
PROGRAM: PRIVATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
158,533,315
.00
PUBLIC SCHOOLS, DIVISION OF
PROGRAM: EDUCATIONAL MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
9,938,677
.00
PROGRAM: FEDERAL GRANTS K/12 PROGRAM
11,923,388,442
.00
PROGRAM: STATE GRANTS/K-12 PROGRAM - FEFP
12,903,776,586
.00
PROGRAM: STATE GRANTS/K-12 PROGRAM - NON FEFP
504,983,474
680.00
PROGRAM: WORKFORCE EDUCATION
535,575,124
.00
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
546,693,754
934.00
UNIVERSITIES, DIVISION OF
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
14,469,268
65.00
PROGRAM: EDUCATIONAL AND GENERAL ACTIVITIES
5,349,014,904
.00
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
239,912,559
884.00
TOTAL
40,628,383,480
2,950.75

Updates

Early Learning System Changes.  The 2021 Legislature enacted Ch. 2021-10Laws of Florida, which makes a number of changes to Florida's early learning system. Among these changes, the law

  • repeals the Office of Early Learning and establishes a Division of Early Learning within the Florida Department of Education, thereby placing oversight of the VPK and School Readiness programs with the State Board of Education;
  • transfers the Gold Seal Quality Care Program from the Florida Department of Children and Families to the Florida Department of Education;
  • establishes the Council for Early Grade Success;
  • places the early learning coalitions under the authority of the State Board of Education;
  • phases in a new VPK accountability system based on a performance metric;
  • requires the Commissioner of Education to develop a coordinated screening and progress monitoring program for VPK-Grade 3 students that provides outcome and learning gains data for the VPK performance metric;
  • allows certain childcare providers on military installations to participate in early learning programs; and
  • allows districts to use the research-based reading allocation to fund intensive interventions for VPK students with a substantial reading deficiency.  

Workforce System Changes. The 2021 Legislature enacted Chapter 2021-164, Laws of Florida, which creates a system-wide approach to workforce development and education in Florida. The bill makes several changes to the education component of workforce development, including the following.

  • Creates the Open Door Workforce Grant Program to provide grants to school districts and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of short-term, high-demand programs.
  • Creates the Money-Back Guarantee Program, requiring each school district and FCS institution to refund the cost of tuition to students who are not able to find a job within six months of completing select programs.
  • Creates a new workforce performance funding model for school district and FCS institution workforce programs, requiring one-third of performance funding to be based on rewarding student job placement and the remaining two-thirds to be based on student earnings, with a focus on increasing the economic mobility of underserved populations.
  • Requires that students entering a public postsecondary institution in 2022-2023, and thereafter, must be able to earn nationally recognized digital credentials for competencies within the general education core courses which demonstrate career readiness.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website.
Websites of Interest
Florida Department of Education, Division of K-12 Public Schools
Florida Department of Education, Career and Adult Education
Florida State Board of Education
Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance
Florida Department of Education, Division of Florida Colleges
Florida Board of Governors
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for universities may be found in the Board of Governor's strategic plan and accountability plans.

Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article IX, Constitution of the State of Florida; and Title XLVIII, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Florida Department of Education, Office of the Commissioner, 850-245-0505, email:  Commissioner@fldoe.org
Florida College System, Office of the Chancellor, 850-245-0407, email:  ChancellorFCS@fldoe.org
Florida Board of Governors, Office of the Chancellor, 850-245-0466, email:  Chancellor@flbog.edu

Florida Department of Education
State University System of Florida, Board of Governors