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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Progress Report: Excess Hours Cost State $62 Million Annually; University Actions May Help Address Problem, Report No. 06-58, August 2006
Full report in PDF format

  • To ensure that higher education is affordable, the Legislature historically has mandated relatively low tuition and general fees.  However, most students attending the state’s public universities graduate with credit hours in excess of graduation requirements, which increase state higher education costs.  In Fiscal Year 2004-05, these excess hours cost the state $62 million.
  • OPPAGA’s 2004 report offered several policy options for legislative consideration to decrease the state’s cost of excess hours, including requiring that certain students pay for at least a portion of the cost of excess hours.  In 2005, the Legislature passed SB 2236 to require students to pay 75% of the actual cost of credit hours beyond 120% of the hours required for their degree.  However, the bill was vetoed by the Governor. 
  • Florida public postsecondary institutions have taken steps to reduce time to graduation and excess hours.  Because these strategies have been implemented relatively recently, it is too early to draw conclusions on their effectiveness.

What were our earlier findings?

Report No. 04-44 Information Brief: Stronger Financial Incentives Could Encourage Students to Graduate With Fewer Excess Hours, published in June 2004.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Florida Prepaid College Board
Student Financial Assistance
Board of Governors
Florida College System
Acceleration Programs
State University System

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 09-22 Several Universities Have Improved Systems to Track Student Progress, published in March 2009.
  • Report No. 06-75 Progress Report: Legislature Has Clarified Authority for Implementing Changes to Setting Higher Education Tuition and Fees, published in December 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. 05-30 OPPAGA Report: Excess Hours at Community Colleges Warrant Attention by the Department of Education and the Legislature, published in April 2005.

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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