Florida – High School to College & Careers


College and Career Readiness

The Florida Department of Education has established college and career ready competencies in Writing, Reading and Mathematics. Florida has a statewide college-readiness assessment instrument ─ the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT). Beginning in 2016, local school districts have the option of administering it to their students, usually in the junior year. Beginning in spring 2014, students who graduate from a Florida public high school with a standard high school diploma are exempt from placement testing, are deemed college and career ready and may enter college coursework without a readiness assessment. However, a recent high school graduate can opt to take the PERT and enroll in an appropriate level of developmental instruction. To earn a standard high school diploma, students must complete a prescribed 24-credit curriculum with a 2.0 GPA or better and successfully pass all required end-of-course assessments.

College and Career Planning

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

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



Biology I

Two credits must be equally rigorous science courses that have a lab component.

One course must be Biology I


An industry certification that leads to college credit may substitute for up to one science credit (except for Biology I).


An identified rigorous computer science course with a related industry certification may substitute for up to one science credit that is not Biology I.

Social Science









U.S.. History


World history





** Eligible courses and substitutions specified in the Florida Course Code Directory at http://www.fldoe.org/policy/articulation/ccd

Fine Arts**


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

** Eligible courses and substitutions specified in the Florida Course Code Directory at http://www.fldoe.org/policy/articulation/ccd

Physical Education**


To include the integration of health

** Eligible courses and substitutions specified in the Florida Course Code Directory at http://www.fldoe.org/policy/articulation/ccd





Online Course





Students must earn a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

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 mathematics 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 as well as pass the Algebra I end-of-course (EOC) state-wide assessments. Both ninth and tenth graders must take Florida Standards (FSA) assessments in English Language Arts reading and writing. Students must also pass the Algebra II (if enrolled), Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History EOCs, which will count 30 percent toward the final course grades.

Accelerated Learning Options

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

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 of common placement test scores. 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. 

Early Admission

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

Early High School Graduation

Students may graduate early through a combination of high school, online and dual credit courses.

Competency-Based Credit

The Credit acceleration program (CAP) allows students to earn high school credit if the student passes an advanced placement (AP) examination, a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or a statewide course assessment without enrollment in the course. The courses include the following subjects:

  • Biology I, Algebra II, Algebra I, Geometry U.S.. History

Accelerated Options

High schools must offer an International Baccalaureate Program, Advanced International Certificate of Education or AP courses — one each in English, math, science, and social studies..

Career and Technical Education

Florida has participated in the National Career Clusters Framework initiative and organizes its secondary and postsecondary programs by the nationally recognized career clusters.

Postsecondary Admissions

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



At least three units must have a writing component

ACT Reading & Writing: 19/18

SAT Verbal & Writing: 460/440



All units at or above Algebra I level

ACT Math: 19

SAT Math: 460



Two units must have a lab component  

Social Science


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

World Languages


Both credits in the same language Applicants can waive requirement by showing fluency in language equal to or higher than the second course level.







Florida has three routes to university admission:

  • Standard admission – students having 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 SUS 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


A student who demonstrates college readiness by achieving or exceeding the minimum standard test scores and enrolls in a Florida College System institution within two (2) years cannot be required to retest or complete developmental education at a Florida College System institution. Further, 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 a student 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. A student who is exempt may opt to be assessed and to enroll in developmental education, and 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 (FCAT2.0) minimum composite score of 262 was accepted through March 2017.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation provides high schools with information about the number and percentage of their graduates who have gone to college, their scores on placement tests, and the number enrolled in remedial courses.  For past years, the Performance on the Common Placement Tests report has provided assessment results for the subtests of the SAT, ACT and the Common Placement Test (CPT) across the state’s postsecondary institutions.

State Financial Aid

A portion of state financial aid is allocated based on academic merit.

Bright Futures Programs

Initial Eligibility Criteria

Renewal Criteria

Academic Scholars

3.5 GPA on 16 credits of state university system college preparatory academic courses
SAT 1290 or ACT 29
100 service hours

3.0 GPA

Earn required number of credit hours based on enrollment type

Medallion Scholars

3.0 GPA on 16-unit core curriculum
SAT 1170 or ACT 26
75 service hours

2.75 GPA

Earn required number of credit hours based on enrollment type

Gold Seal Vocational Scholars

3.0 GPA on all subjects for high school graduation and 3.5 GPA on three full credits of a single CTE program.
Meet state placement cut scores
30 service hours

2.75 GPA

Earn required number of credit hours based on enrollment type

Gold Seal CAPE Scholars

Earn a minimum of 5 postsecondary credit hours through CAPE industry certification which articulate for college credit.

30 service hours


Academic and Medallion Scholar applicants may apply up to two additional optional units drawn from the core academic areas, and/or Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education fine arts units in order to raise their GPAs to the qualifying level.

Benacquisto Scholarship Incentive Program provides last-dollar aid to National Merit Scholars. The scholarship provides aid equal to the cost of attendance at a Florida public university minus the sum of the student’s Bright Futures and National Merit Scholarships. Aid is renewable as long as students earn both a 3.0 GPA and all hours funded each term.

Special Thanks

SREB would like to thank the staff at the following agencies for their assistance in carefully reviewing and confirming the accuracy of the policies and programs described in this document:

Florida College System
Florida Department of Education State University System of Florida Board of Governors


Florida College System
Florida Department of Education
Diploma requirements at http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7764/urlt/freshmanflyer.pdf/

Florida Legislature
MyCareerShines Planning System Office of Student Financial Assistance, FLDOE State University System of Florida Board of Governors