Florida College System
Former names
Florida Community College System
TypePublic College System
ChancellorKathy Hebda
28 colleges
, ,
Sporting affiliations
Florida State College Activities Association, NJCAA Region VIII

The Florida College System, previously known as the Florida Community College System, comprises 28 public community colleges and state colleges in the U.S. state of Florida. In 2013-14, enrollment consisted of more than 813,000 students.[1] Together with the State University System of Florida, which includes Florida's 12 public four-year universities, it is part of Florida's system of public higher education.

While governed by local boards of trustees, the colleges are coordinated under the jurisdiction of Florida's State Board of Education. Administratively, the chancellor of the Florida College System is the chief executive officer of the system, reporting to the commissioner of Education who serves as the chief executive officer of Florida's public education system. In 2009, the Florida Legislature changed the name from the "Florida Community College System" to the "Florida College System," reflecting the fact that some of its member institutions now offer four-year bachelor's degrees. As of 2014, only three members of the Florida College System retain "community college" in their official name.[2]

Map of the System
Map of the System

Member institutions

Student profile

Racial and/or ethnic background (2014)
Students[3] Florida[4] United States[5]
Non-Hispanic White 45% 57% 63%
(of any race)
26% 23% 17%
Black 18% 17% 13%
Multi-ethnic 2% N/A N/A
International student 2% N/A N/A
Other races 8% N/A N/A

Mission and offerings

Section (s.) 1004.65, Florida Statutes (F.S.), establishes the primary mission and responsibility of Florida College System institutions as responding to community needs for post secondary academic education and career degree education. This mission and responsibility includes:[6]

(a) Providing lower level undergraduate instruction and awarding associate degrees.
(b) Preparing students directly for careers requiring less than baccalaureate degrees. This may include preparing for job entry, supplementing of skills and knowledge, and responding to needs in new areas of technology. Career education in a Florida College System institution shall consist of career certificates, credit courses leading to associate in science degrees and associate in applied science degrees, and other programs in fields requiring substantial academic work, background, or qualifications. A Florida College System institution may offer career education programs in fields having lesser academic or technical requirements.
(c) Providing student development services, including assessment, student tracking, support for disabled students, advisement, counseling, financial aid, career development, and remedial and tutorial services, to ensure student success.
(d) Promoting economic development for the state within each Florida College System institution district through the provision of special programs, including, but not limited to:
1. Enterprise Florida-related programs.
2. Technology transfer centers.
3. Economic development centers.
4. Workforce literacy programs.
(e) Providing dual enrollment instruction.
(f) Providing upper level instruction and awarding baccalaureate degrees as specifically authorized by law.

A separate and secondary role for Florida College System institutions includes the offering of programs in:

(a) Community services that are not directly related to academic or occupational advancement.
(b) Adult education services, including adult basic education, adult general education, adult secondary education, and General Educational Development test instruction.
(c) Recreational and leisure services.

In addition, s. 1007.33(2), F.S., requires that any Florida College System institution that offers one or more baccalaureate degree programs:

(a) Maintain as its primary mission:
1. Responsibility for responding to community needs for post secondary academic education and career degree education as prescribed in s. 1004.65(5), F.S.
2. The provision of associate degrees that provide access to a university.
(b) Maintain an open-door admission policy for associate-level degree programs and workforce education programs.
(c) Continue to provide outreach to underserved populations.
(d) Continue to provide remedial education.
(e) Comply with all provisions of the statewide articulation agreement which relate to 2-year and 4-year public degree-granting institutions as adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to s. 1007.23, F.S.


The schools athletic teams are governed by the Florida State College Activities Association (FSCAA) and compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 8.

Chancellors and directors

Year Names[7] Title
1957–1967 James L. Wattenbarger Director of the Division of Community Colleges
1967–1983 Lee G. Henderson Director of the Division of Community Colleges
1984–1997 Clark Maxwell, Jr. Executive director of the Florida Community College System
1998–2007 J. David Armstrong, Jr. Executive director of the Florida Community College System (1998-2001), chancellor of the Florida College System (2001-2007)
2007–2011 Willis N. Holcombe Chancellor of the Florida College System
2011–2014 Randall W. Hanna Chancellor of the Florida College System
2015–2018 Madeline M. Pumariega President & CEO of Take Stock in Children (2013-2015), chancellor of the Florida College System (2015–2018)
2019–Present Kathy Hebda Chancellor of the Florida College System


James L. Wattenbarger, distinguished service professor emeritus, University of Florida and Harry T. Albertson, former chief executive officer, Florida Association of Community Colleges, outlined the history of the Florida College System through 2009.[8]

Timeline of the
Florida College System
1927 St. Petersburg Junior College founded as private, two-year college
1933 Palm Beach Junior College founded as first public college
1939 Legislature passes law allowing counties to petition for the establishment of public colleges
1947 "Junior colleges" detailed in report to legislature
1947-1948 St. Petersburg Junior College becomes part of Florida's public system

Legislature approves creation of three new colleges: Palm Beach Junior College, Chipola Junior College, and Pensacola Junior College

1948 Creation of Florida Association of Public Junior Colleges
1955 Legislature created Community College Council to formulate long-range plans
1957-58 Community College Council issues report to legislature which recommended state plan for 28 community/junior colleges

Legislature approves creation of six new colleges: Gulf Coast Community College, Central Florida Community College, Daytona Beach Community College, Manatee Junior College, North Florida Junior College, and St. Johns River Community College. Legislature approves statutory revisions permitting junior colleges to separate from K-12 Legislature establishes the Division of Community Colleges

1960 Legislature approves creation of four new colleges: Brevard Community College, Broward Community College, Miami Dade Community College, and Indian River Community College
1962 Legislature approves creation of three new colleges: Edison Community College, Lake City Community College, and Lake-Sumter Junior College
1964 Legislature approves creation of Okaloosa-Walton Community College
1965 Legislature approves creation of Polk Community College
1966 Legislature approves creation of five new colleges: Florida Keys Community College, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Santa Fe Community College, Seminole Community College, and South Florida Community College
1967 Legislature approves creation of two new colleges: Valencia Community College and Tallahassee Community College
1968 Legislature approves creation of Hillsborough Community College

Legislature approves measure allowing community colleges to be governed under local boards

1972 Legislature approves creation of Pasco-Hernando Community College
1979 Legislature creates Community College Coordinating Board
1983 Legislature replaces Community College Coordinating Board with State Board of Community Colleges
1996 Colleges become first state agency in Florida to embrace performance based budgeting
1998 Commissioner of Education eliminated from cabinet position
2000 Florida higher Education Reorganization Act restructures higher education systems and Division of Community Colleges merged with Division of Workforce Development
2001 Senate Bill 1162 eliminates State Board of Community Colleges, creates State Board of Education, and creates local boards of trustees
2002 New statutes give more control to local boards
2004 Legislation outlines process for community colleges to create baccalaureate degrees and allows community colleges to change names to reflect expanding mission[9]
2009 The Florida Community College System is renamed the Florida College System
2011 FCS member institution Valencia College named nation's best community college as first-ever winner of Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence[10]
2012 Governor Rick Scott announces "…$10,000 degree challenge will help us continue to improve the value of our higher education system." As of 2015, 23 of the 28 Florida College System institutions are offering $10,000 bachelor's degrees.[11]
2015 Santa Fe College is the second Florida college to win the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence[12]
2019 Indian River State College [13] and Miami Dade College[14] win the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

See also


  1. ^ Florida College System, 2014 Annual Report
  2. ^ Section 1007.33, Florida Statutes, Site-Determined Baccalaureate Degree Access [1]
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-08-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html
  6. ^ "Section 1004.65, Florida Statutes, Florida College System institutions; governance, mission, and responsibilities".
  7. ^ Wattenbarger & Albertson. "A Succinct History of the Florida Community College System" (PDF).
  8. ^ Wattenbarger & Albertson. "A Succinct History of the Florida Community College System" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2014-11-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Valencia College wins Aspen Prize
  11. ^ Gov. Rick Scott announces $10,000 Degree Challenge
  12. ^ Santa Fe College wins Aspen Prize
  13. ^ Seldes, Suzanne. "Indian River State College Named Number One in the Nation by Aspen Institute". Indian River State College. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  14. ^ Riera, Gabriel. "Miami Dade College Awarded Prestigious 2019 Aspen Prize". Miami Dade College. Retrieved 21 February 2020.