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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Excess Hours at Community Colleges Warrant Attention by the Department of Education and the Legislature, Report No. 05-30, April 2005
Full report in PDF format

  • Approximately 97% of community college students in a cohort of 2001-02 graduates accumulated at least one excess hour and 61% accumulated hours that exceeded 120% of degree requirements.  Excess hours occur when students enroll in classes that they either do not successfully complete or do not need to meet graduation requirements.  The excess hours students in our cohort took cost the state about $30 million.  However, since our cohort represented only 39% of those graduating in 2001‑02, the full cost of the excess hours taken by all students is likely to be much higher. 
  • The main causes of excess hours at the community college level are student characteristics and inadequate academic advising.  In addition, some students take community college courses that will satisfy upper division requirements, which causes excess hours to be taken at the community college level.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Public Schools (K-12 Education)
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Remedial and Supplemental Instruction
Student Financial Assistance
State University System
Florida College System
Board of Governors

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 10-43 University Implementation and State Oversight of Common Program Prerequisites Has Improved,published in May 2010.
  • Report No. 09-22 Several Universities Have Improved Systems to Track Student Progress, published in March 2009.
  • Report No. 08-11 Inconsistent Implementation of Common Prerequisites Creates Barriers to Effective 2+2 Articulation, published in March 2008.
  • Report No. 07-37 State Policies for Excess Hours Remain Unchanged; Steps Taken to Strengthen Academic Advising, published in September 2007.
  • Report No. 06-58 Progress Report: Excess Hours Cost State $62 Million Annually; University Actions May Help Address Problem, published in August 2006.
  • Report No. 06-52 Florida’s Postsecondary Institutions Employ a Variety of Support Services for Students, published in June 2006.
  • Report No. 06-48 Student Tracking Systems Can Be Used to Enhance Graduation and Retention Rates, published in May 2006.
  • Report No. 04-44 Information Brief: Stronger Financial Incentives Could Encourage Students to Graduate With Fewer Excess Hours, published in June 2004.

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).
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