The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce has recently awarded the Florida College System with an “A” grade in the categories of Student Access & Success and Efficiency & Cost-Effectiveness, a finding welcomed by the local FCS institution, Polk State College.
“We are extremely pleased that Florida’s colleges and universities have been recognized for the outstanding work that is being done throughout the state,” said FCS Chancellor Randy Hanna, in congratulatory words to the system’s 28 member institutions, including Polk State.
Florida’s grades in these areas bettered states across the nation, including highly-praised systems in California, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.
According to Polk State President Eileen Holden, “It’s gratifying to see our system recognized for success in categories that are so relevant to our mission. We pride ourselves on an extraordinary convergence of access and quality, and we’ve obviously built something that the business community appreciates.”
The report also highlighted Florida colleges’ competitive cost per completion, another point of particular pride at Polk State, the county’s most affordable higher-education option at just over $100 per credit hour.
Polk State works closely with industry partners in designing and refining its degree programs to assure students are trained to meet real-world employer demands, equipping them with a competitive edge when they enter the labor force. The fact that over 90 percent of Polk State students graduate without any student loan debt further enhances their value in the local economy, notes Holden.
Additional data show that Polk students who choose to continue their educations at the state’s universities are prepared for success: recent statewide data ranked Polk State’s transfer students first in first-year grade-point averages among all Florida College System transfer students entering State University System institutions.
Hanna made it clear that the system he leads will not rest on its laurels: “We will remain focused on the areas of access and workforce development. While this report shows the good work being done at Florida’s colleges, we look forward to using this data to make continued progress and additional improvements for our students and the State of Florida.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Holden. “We are proud to be a part of a system that values excellence and continuous improvement. We believe that the success we are seeing now is no accident. Student success is the centerpiece of all of our strategic planning at Polk State, and it always will be.”
For more information about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce and to view other states’ report cards, visit http://icw.uschamber.com/.