Florida Readiness Policies


High School and Postsecondary Alignment

SREB’s Challenge to Lead 2020 goals call for states to align middle grades and high school policies with college-readiness standards, to recognize multiple paths to graduation and to provide students with diverse postsecondary options and resources. The following tabs summarize how Florida aligns its policies to promote smooth transitions for students through high school and beyond.  


College and Career Readiness Definitions

Students are considered college and career ready when they have the knowledge, skills, and academic preparation needed to enroll and succeed in introductory college credit-bearing courses within an associate or baccalaureate degree program without the need for remediation. These same attributes and levels of achievement are needed for entry into and success in postsecondary workforce education or directly into a job that offers gainful employment and career advancement.


College and Career Planning in K-12

State law requires middle school students to complete one course in career and education planning. These courses provide information related to diploma options, assessment requirements, scholarships, and accelerated learning options. By the end of the course, students must complete a personalized academic and career plan.

FloridaShines provides students with academic advising, career readiness and online learning resources to help students explore college offerings and career options.

MyCareerShines is an online career planning system available free of charge to all elementary, middle grades and high school students. The online platform allows students to explore career options and develop their academic and career plans.

Career Cruiser, provided by the Florida Department of Education, offers self-assessment activities to help students explore career options in relation to their personal interests.

Plan It Florida, provided by the Florida College Access Network, offers resources for schools, counselors and community organizations to help students start planning for college as early as the middle grades.


High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2020 and Beyond

Students may choose from five options to earn a high school diploma. The standard diploma requires students to complete at least 24 credits. Additional options include an 18-credit, Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (ACCEL) option, a Career and Technical Education Pathway, an International Baccalaureate curriculum, or an Advanced International Certificate of Education curriculum. Students must earn a 2.0 grade-point average for all cohort years.



Required Courses

Notes and Substitutions



ELA 1, 2, 3, and 4

ELA Honors, AP, AICE, IB and dual enrollment courses



Algebra I


Two additional math courses  

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

An industry certification that leads to college credit may substitute for up to two math credits

An identified computer science credit may substitute for up to one mathematics credit




Two additional rigorous science courses  

Two of the  science courses must have a lab component

Substitutions include AP, IB, or dual enrollment science courses

An industry certification, or an identified computer science course, that leads to college credit may substitute for up to one science credit

Social Studies


World History

U.S. History

1/2 Credit U.S. Government  

1/2 Credit Economics

AP, IB or dual enrollment social studies courses

Physical Education  


To include the integration of health

Eligible courses/substitutions are specified in the Florida Course Code Directory at www.fldoe.org/policy/articulation/ccd.

Include AP, IB, and Credit Recovery



Fine and Performing Arts, Speech and Debate, or Practical Arts




Total Credits


Students must earn a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and must complete one course online.

AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.
A computer science course with a related industry certification may substitute for up to one math credit (except for Algebra 1 or high-level math).

Districts may use computer science courses to satisfy certain graduation requirements for math and science if students also earn the related industry certification. A computer science course with a related industry certification may substitute for up to one math credit (except for Algebra 1 or Geometry) or one science credit (except for Biology 1).

Students can use earned industry certifications as substitutes for certain math and science units. All students still must earn course credit in Algebra I, Geometry and Biology I.

Students may also complete a state-approved apprenticeship program as a substitution for high school credit in one or two areas: “one credit in fine or performing arts, speech and debate, or practical arts,” and/or eight elective credits.

Diploma Designations for the Standard Diploma

Scholar Diploma Designation

In addition to meeting the 24-credit standard high school diploma requirements and the state assessment requirements, a student must:

  • Earn 1 credit in Algebra II or an equally rigorous course
  • Earn 1 credit in statistics or an equally rigorous math course
  • Earn 1 credit in Chemistry or Physics
  • Earn 1 credit in a course equally rigorous to Chemistry or Physics
  • Earn 2 credits in the same world language
  • Earn at least 1 credit in AP, IB, AICE or a dual enrollment course

A student is exempt from the Biology I or U.S. History assessment if the student is enrolled in an AP, IB or AICE Biology I or U.S. History course and the student:

  • Takes the respective AP, IB or AICE assessment
  • Earns the minimum score to earn college credit

Merit Diploma Designation

  • Meet the standard high school diploma requirements
  • Attain one or more industry certifications from the list established (per section 1003.492, Statutes [F.S.])

Assessment Requirements

To graduate, high school seniors must pass the grade 10 English Language assessment or obtain a concordant score on the ACT/SAT. Both ninth and 10th graders must take Florida Standards Assessments in English Language Arts reading and writing. Students must also pass the Algebra I, Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History End Of Course tests, which constitute 30% of final course grades. Students who attain the minimum score necessary to earn college credit on the AP, IB, or AICE assessment do not need to take the EOC for the corresponding course.

State Board Rule 6A-10.0315, establishes the test scores used to determine whether a student is ready for college-level coursework. If a student does not meet the state established cut score, this indicates that additional preparation may be necessary before entering college-level courses. Assessments used to help determine readiness include the SAT, Grade 10 FCAT 2.0 Reading, and ACT exams.


Accelerated Learning Options in High School

Competency-Based Credit

The Credit Acceleration Program allows students to take the College Level Examination Program, Advanced Placement or end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Geometry, U.S. History or Biology I and earn high school credit for the course, even if students have not enrolled in or completed the course. The program can enable students to pursue other accelerated options, including dual credit, early admission and early graduation.

The state legislature established the seven-year Competency-Based Education Pilot Program that began in the 2016-17 school year. The purpose of the pilot program is to allow students in four districts and one laboratory school to earn high school credit after satisfactorily demonstrating mastery of concepts and skills.

Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

Florida defines dual enrollment as “the enrollment of an eligible secondary student or home education student in a postsecondary course creditable toward high school completion and a career certificate or associate or baccalaureate degree.” Students in grades 6-12 may enroll in academic or career certificate courses and earn dual credit. The college dual enrollment option requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a minimum passing score on a state-adopted common college placement exam.

Home schooled students are also eligible for dual enrollment if they can show that their home education program complies with Florida Statutes § 1002.41. To maintain eligibility, students must keep a 3.0 GPA as well as continue to meet the minimum postsecondary GPA set by the institution in which they are dually enrolled. The career certificate option requires a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Students enrolled in dual enrollment programs are exempt from the payment of registration, tuition and laboratory fees.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

High schools must offer at least four dual credit or AP courses — one each in English, math, science and social studies. Florida districts are required to award credit to students who can pass AP examinations without enrolling in or completing AP courses.

The Florida League of International Baccalaureate Schools, Inc. works to expand the IB program throughout the state. The Middle Years, Diploma, and Career IB Programmes are available at accredited schools and offer high school students the opportunity to earn college-level credit while pursuing a high school diploma.

Early High School Graduation

To graduate early with a standard high school diploma, students must earn 24 credits and complete the graduation requirements outlined in Florida Statutes § 1003.4282. Students are not required to complete any additional district-mandated graduation requirements. 

Students are eligible to graduate early through the Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning option pursuant to Florida Statutes § 1002.3105(5), F.S. The 18-credit ACCEL option differs from the standard diploma, with students required to complete three elective credits instead of eight. Students enrolled in the ACCEL option are exempted from both the physical education and online course requirements.

Early College Admission

Florida Statutes § 1007.271 defines early college admission as a form of dual enrollment that allows high school students to enroll in college or career courses full-time while continuing to earn both high school and postsecondary credit. Career early admission leads to an industry certification as defined in Florida Statutes § 1008.44. These students must enroll in a minimum of 12 college credit hours per semester but cannot be required to enroll in more than 15 credits per semester. Entrance requirements for early college enrollees vary by institution.


Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

Each Florida College System institution board of trustees is authorized to develop rules governing admissions that include mandatory counseling for all students entering college or career credit programs.

The Florida Board of Governors sets minimum admissions criteria. Individual institutions may choose to establish more stringent admissions requirements within the parameters outlined in the board’s regulations. The minimum standards require that applicants graduate with the Standard Diploma.

Minimum Admission Criteria for First-Time, Degree-Seeking Freshmen



Course Requirements



Three units must have a substantial writing component.



All units at or above Algebra 1 level.



Two units must have a lab component.

Social Studies


Options include anthropology, history, civics, political science, economics, sociology, psychology and/or geography

World Languages


Both credits must be in the same language.







Florida has three routes to university admission:

  • Standard admission – Institutions may admit students with a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher who have met the minimum admissions criteria, have qualifying SAT and/or ACT scores, and have met the requirements for college-level placement.  
  • Talented Twenty – Students receive guaranteed admission to one of the 12 state universities if they are in the Top 20 percent of their graduating class and have completed the required 18-credit core curriculum and submitted qualifying SAT or ACT scores. The Talented Twenty program does not guarantee admission to the first-choice institution.
  • Alternative admission – A limited number of applicants who are not eligible for standard admission may be considered for alternative admission. University admissions officers review a variety of factors, including but not limited to the potential for success, family education background, socioeconomic background and graduation from a low-performing high school. The additional factors shall not include preferences in the admissions process based on race, sex or national origin. 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Students who attend two-year institutions must have a standard high school diploma or its equivalency or must demonstrate the potential for success in postsecondary course work.

Admission to associate degree programs requires students to have a standard high school diploma or its equivalent, or to have previously demonstrated competency in college-credit postsecondary coursework. Those in dual enrollment and early admission programs are exempt from this requirement. Students must also demonstrate a level of achievement of college-level communication and computation skills.


Postsecondary Placement Policies


Florida uses the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test for placement, a customized placement test aligned to the Postsecondary Readiness Competencies identified by faculty as necessary for entry-level college coursework. The PERT covers mathematics, reading and writing. Students may use corresponding scores on other college placement exams such as the Accuplacer Classic, the SAT or the ACT.

A student who entered ninth grade in a Florida public school in the 2003-2004 school year or after and earned a Florida standard high school diploma, or who is serving as an active-duty member of any branch of the United States Armed Services, is exempt from placement testing and cannot be required to enroll in developmental education instruction in a Florida College System institution.

However, a student who is exempt may opt to be assessed and enroll in developmental education. If so, the college shall administer assessments and courses upon the student’s request.

Non-exempt students who have not earned credit for college-level coursework for reading, writing and mathematics shall be tested for proficiency prior to the completion of initial registration. A student admitted to a Florida College System institution whose score on a common placement test indicates a need for developmental education must be advised of all the developmental education options offered at the institution and, after advisement, shall be allowed to enroll in the developmental education option of his or her choice.

Florida College System – Minimum Placement Assessment Scores*









SAT (prior to 3/1/16)
















* A Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0 (FCAT 2.0) minimum composite score of 262 was accepted through March 2017.

State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

State Policy Overview

Florida provides predominantly non-need-based financial aid for undergraduates.

Merit-Based Aid

The state lottery funds the merit-based Bright Futures Scholarship Program. Recent high school graduates must complete the Florida Financial Aid Application to qualify for one of four awards.

For the Academic, Medallion, and Gold Seal Vocational awards, students must earn a standard Florida high school diploma, complete the required high school courses with a minimum qualifying grade-point average, enroll for at least six semester credits, and complete the community service requirement.

Applicants for the Academic and Medallion scholarships may use two additional high school units drawn from core academic areas and world languages, as well as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses, to raise their GPAs to meet the initial eligibility requirements.   

The Florida Academic Scholarship covers 100% of tuition and required fees, plus $300 per semester for applicable expenses. The Florida Medallion Scholarship covers 75% of tuition and required fees. The state sets a per-credit aid amount for recipients of both scholarships who attend nonpublic institutions. The minimum GPAs to renew the Academic and Medallion grants are 3.0 and 2.75, respectively.

The Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship provides financial aid to students who take at least three credits in one career and technical education program in high school and meet other GPA, college entrance exam and community service requirements.

The Florida Legislature created the Gold Seal CAPE Vocational Scholars award in 2016. The grant provides funding for students who earn a minimum of five postsecondary credits through industry certifications and complete 30 service hours.

Gold Seal Vocational and CAPE scholars must use their award to enroll in a certificate or career education program. Gold Seal Cape Scholarship recipients may receive additional aid to pursue a baccalaureate degree if they complete an Associate in Applied Science program.       

The Benacquisto Scholarship Program provides aid to National Merit Scholars who attend one of nine public postsecondary institutions. The last-dollar scholarship covers the cost of attendance after deducting the student’s Bright Futures and National Achievement scholarships. Aid is renewable if students meet minimum credit completion requirements and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

The William L. Boyd, IV, Effective Access to Student Education Program provides tuition assistance to Florida undergraduate students attending an eligible private, non-profit Florida college or university. Each participating institution determines application procedures, deadlines and student eligibility. A renewal applicant must have earned a minimum institutional cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and earned the equivalent of 12 credit hours for each term an award was received during the academic year.

Need-Based Aid

The Florida Student Assistance Grant Program provides need-based aid to resident students attending eligible postsecondary institutions. Students must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours per term to participate in the FSAG Public (community college) program, and 12 hours for the FSAG Private and Postsecondary programs. Aid is renewable if students maintain a 2.0 GPA and meet credit requirements for enrollment. Florida Statutes Section 1009.286 allows first-time college students enrolled in a state university who complete a baccalaureate degree within four years of initial enrollment to apply for a refund of excess credit hour surcharges.


The Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship provides financial assistance to undergraduate students who meet scholastic requirements, demonstrate financial need, and attend Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, Florida A&M University or Florida Memorial University. Each participating institution determines application procedures, deadlines and student eligibility.

Chapter 119 (2019) creates the Last Mile College Completion Program beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year. The program pays the tuition and required fees for students who are within 12 credit hours of completing an associate or baccalaureate degree.


Postsecondary Feedback to High Schools

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1008.37 directs the Department of Education to report on the status of recent high school graduates enrolled in public colleges or career centers. The High School Feedback Report provides data on the number and percentage of graduates enrolled in a postsecondary experience, as well as performance on placement tests and in remedial courses where applicable. For reference, the reports provide achievement data at the state, district and school levels and break down that data by race and ethnicity. 

The reports also include the success rate of students enrolled in various math and English courses in the Fall immediately following graduation from high school. A recent update to the High School Feedback Reports requires that districts report graduate data as reported for the federal high school graduation rate, meaning trends that include data from 2016 and before are no longer valid.