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

Eighth grade students must complete a one-unit course in career and education planning and create personalized academic and career plans. The course provides information related to diploma options, assessment requirements, scholarships, and accelerated learning options.

Florida House Bill 5101 (2014) requires the development of an online student advisement system. The online platform will allow students to search public colleges and universities to identify programs of study that align with their career and academic interests and abilities.

KnowHow2GoFlorida is a Web portal provided by the Florida College Access Network that provides targeted guidance for middle grades and high school students and their families to help plan for college.

Florida CHOICES is the state’s official career information portal. Students can create an online account, develop an academic and career planning portfolio, and learn how to apply for college and financial aid.


High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering Grade 9 in the 2016-2017 School Year

Students must complete at least 24 credits to earn a standard high school diploma.



Required Courses




English I

English II

English III

English IV

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



Algebra I


Third math

Fourth math  

Industry certifications that lead to college credit may substitute for the third and fourth math credit.




Two from equally rigorous science courses having a lab component    

An industry certification leading to college credit may substitute for up to one science credit (other than Biology I).

A computer science course with a related industry certification may substitute for up to one science credit (other than Biology I).

Social Studies


World History

U.S. History

1/2 Credit U.S. Government  

1/2 Credit Economics  

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


They include AP, IB, Credit Recovery

Physical Education  



To include the integration of health

Fine Arts


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.

Districts may use computer science courses to satisfy certain graduation requirements for math and science if students also earn the related industry certification.

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.

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 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
  • Attains 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 tenth graders must take Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) in English Language Arts reading and writing. Students must also pass the Algebra I, Algebra II (if enrolled), Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History EOCs, which constitute 30 percent of final course grades.

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, Algebra II, Geometry, U.S. History or Biology I and earn 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.

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, Florida HB 1365 established the Competency-based Education Pilot Program to be administered for five years in a limited number of districts and schools. The purpose of the pilot program is to allow students to earn high school credit and move to higher levels 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.” High school students 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 achievement on common college placement exams. Home schooled students are also eligible for dual enrollment if they can show that their home education program complies with Florida Statute 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. (FLIBS) 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 in section 1003.4282, F.S.

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

Early College Admission

State law defines early college admission as a form of dual enrollment in which students enroll in a college or university full-time (12 to 15 credits) during their junior or senior years of high school. Entrance requirements for early college enrollees vary by institution.


Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Florida Board of Governors set minimum admission criteria. Individual institutions may choose to establish more stringent admission 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

Minimum Assessment Requirements



All three units must have a writing component.

ACT Reading & Writing: 19/18

SAT Verbal & Writing: 460/440



All units at or above Algebra 1 level.

ACT Math: 19

SAT Math: 460



Two units must have a lab component.


Social Studies


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


World Languages


Both credits must be in the same language.

Applicants can waive requirement by showing fluency in language equal to or higher than the 2nd course level.







Florida has three routes to university admission:

  • Standard admission – Students with a high school GPA of 3.0, completion of the minimum admissions criteria, and presentation of official SAT and/or ACT scores.
  • 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 while completing the 18 credits required for the state’s university system admissions and submitting 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 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, national origin, or sex. 

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 potential for success in postsecondary course work.


Postsecondary Placement Policies


A student who entered 9th 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 provide such assessment 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

The state lottery funds the merit-based Bright Futures Scholarship Program. Recent high school graduates may 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 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. Gold Seal Vocational and CAPE scholars must use their award to enroll in a certificate or career education program. GSC 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 Finalists who attend one of six 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 Florida Student Assistance Grant Program provides aid to resident students attending nonpublic postsecondary institutions.


Postsecondary Feedback to High Schools

The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation provides high schools and the state, district, and school levels with information about the number and percentage of graduates who have gone to college, their scores on placement tests, and the number enrolled in remedial courses. The reports also include the Performance on the Common Placement Tests report which provides assessment results for the subtests of the SAT, ACT, PERT and the Common Placement Test across the state’s postsecondary institutions.