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 Office 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 2020-21, 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: 2020-21
Title Fund Dollars Positions
EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF
BLIND SERVICES, DIVISION OF
56,660,540
289.75
EARLY LEARNING
PROGRAM: EARLY LEARNING SERVICES
1,439,150,483
98.00
FLORIDA COLLEGES, DIVISION OF
PROGRAM: FLORIDA COLLEGES
1,277,942,716
.00
OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
PROGRAM: STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM - FEDERAL
105,000
.00
PROGRAM: STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM - STATE
984,759,452
.00
PROGRAM: EDUCATION - FIXED CAPITAL OUTLAY
1,718,058,621
.00
PROGRAM: PRIVATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
164,157,397
.00
PUBLIC SCHOOLS, DIVISION OF
PROGRAM: EDUCATIONAL MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
9,938,677
.00
PROGRAM: FEDERAL GRANTS K/12 PROGRAM
1,874,629,022
.00
PROGRAM: STATE GRANTS/K-12 PROGRAM - FEFP
12,859,590,069
.00
PROGRAM: STATE GRANTS/K-12 PROGRAM - NON FEFP
719,602,651
680.00
PROGRAM: WORKFORCE EDUCATION
512,384,887
.00
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
271,664,568
930.00
UNIVERSITIES, DIVISION OF
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
9,156,405
65.00
PROGRAM: EDUCATIONAL AND GENERAL ACTIVITIES
5,176,646,024
.00
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
237,142,132
884.00
TOTAL
27,311,588,644
2,946.75

Updates

School Closures and Distance Learning Due to COVID-19.  On March 9, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order that declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. As a result, all public K-12 and postsecondary campuses were closed from March through the end of the academic year. During that time, students in K-12 and postsecondary institutions continued instruction through distance learning. The state's Re-Open Florida Task Force has established some guiding principles for reopening the state, with ongoing considerations for reopening Florida's educational institutions. The task force's report recommends that the Department of Education and State University System develop plans to resume on-campus learning, full-time, for the 2020-21 school year. 

  • The Department of Education should develop a plan to phase-in education, safely, during the summer months to provide supplemental education for closing achievement gaps for early learning through K-12 students who may need additional supports due to COVID-19 closures.
  • Florida's postsecondary institutions should continue to implement distance learning measures to the extent possible and develop a plan for return to on-campus instruction.  

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 Office of Early Learning
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 the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan. 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, 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