The Florida Legislature
OPPAGA script logo
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Private Colleges and Universities Program Department of Education, Report No. 03-70, December 2003
Full report in PDF format

The Private Colleges and Universities Program provides financial assistance to Florida private colleges and universities through tuition vouchers, grants, and contracts in order to help meet the postsecondary education needs of Florida citizen. The program has four subprograms the Florida Resident Access Grant, the University of Miami health programs, Historically black colleges, and Academic program contracts. Our report's major conclusions were as follows:
  • The Florida Resident Access Grant program has achieved its objectives of supporting student choice and helping to sustain a strong private postsecondary education system, but available data does not enable a comprehensive study to be done to determine the extent to which it produces net savings to the state.   Private institutions have not yet reported all required accountability data, and thus there is limited information available to assess Florida Resident Access Grant program outcomes.
  • Private colleges and universities are responsible for evaluating the resident status of students to determine if they are eligible for the Florida Resident Access Grant and other state financial aid.  However, private institutions are not required to follow the same residency determination process as public institutions, and they use less stringent requirements.  As a result, there is an increased potential for state financial aid to be awarded to non-resident students.
  • Currently, the University of Miami is not required to report performance information to the Legislature regarding outcomes achieved through its medical school, medical training, cancer research, and diabetes education programs.  University of Miami medical school students performed similarly to students attending Florida’s public medical schools and better than the national average on the United States Medical Licensing Exam.  Because over 73% of the university’s Private Colleges and Universities Program appropriation is used to support the medical school, we believe that legislative performance measures should be adopted to improve accountability for state funds and to provide information to policymakers.
  • Several of the program’s legislative measures demonstrate that private historically black colleges are performing well.  For example, the number of students admitted to the colleges generally has increased, the freshmen retention rate has improved, the total number of graduates has increased, and passage rates on licensing exams is high.  However, graduation rates are relatively low at all three colleges, and concerns about data reliability limit the usefulness of some of the performance measures.
  • Several programs provided through academic program contracts perform well, but data is incomplete and data verification is needed. While performance data indicates that contracted institutions generally perform well, there is no formal process in place to ensure that the programs offered by these institutions are meeting state educational needs.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Student Financial Assistance
Board of Governors
Florida College System
State University System

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 06-57 Progress Report: Legislature Increases FRAG Awards; Residency Determination Rules Improved, published in August 2006.
  • Report No. 04-54 Information Brief: The State Has Several Options Available When Considering the Funding of Higher Education, published in August 2004.
  • Report No. 04-44 Information Brief: Stronger Financial Incentives Could Encourage Students to Graduate With Fewer Excess Hours, published in June 2004.
  • Report No. 03-47 Information Brief: Compilation of College Affordability Data for Students Who Applied for Federal Aid, published in August 2003.
  • Report No. 03-33 Information Brief: College Attendance Costs Vary and Result From Higher Tuition, Room, and Board, published in June 2003.
  • Report No. 03-31 Information Brief: Voluntary Bright Futures Scholarship Testing Program Would Reduce Costs, published in April 2003.
  • Report No. 03-29 Special Review: Non-Residents Qualify Too Easily for Much Lower Resident Tuition Rates, published in April 2003.
  • Report No. 03-17 Program Review: Bright Futures Contributes to Improved College Preparation, Affordability, and Enrollment, published in February 2003.
  • Report No. 03-16 Justification Review: Office of Student Financial Assistance Generally Performs Well, But Performance Measurement and Default Prevention Should Be Improved, published in February 2003.
  • Report No. 01-28 Justification Review: State University System—Florida Department of Education, published in May 2001.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
e-mail address:

Reports  |  Home