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Go Back to the List May 03, 2023
Florida Is No 1 in Education, but Some Give DeSantis an 'F' for Reforms

Experts say the Sunshine State's lauded education system – No. 1 in the U.S. News Best States rankings – faces an urgent threat: Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis likes to brag about his state’s education system. And for good reason.

Florida’s sprawling higher education system, which enrolls roughly 1 million students across 12 public universities or colleges and 28 community and state colleges, keeps in-state tuition and fees low – very low, at less than $5,000 on average for four-year institutions, according to recent data. And at a moment when schools are struggling to retain students, nearly three-quarters of those enrolled in four-year degree programs graduate in a timely manner, as do more than half of those enrolled in two-year programs. When it comes to debt upon graduation, Florida boasts one of the lowest burdens on borrowers in the country.

The Sunshine State’s public K-12 system doesn’t carry the same accolades as its higher education offerings, but it’s nothing to scoff at, either. While the state’s math and reading scores aren’t a standout bright spot – students largely scored in the middle of the pack on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress – it reports a recent 90% high school graduation rate and nearly half of all students are college-ready, having passed benchmarks on the SAT or ACT.

The powerful combination is what landed Florida at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s best states for education rankings.

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Written by Lauren Camera,
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