Press Releases | General Education

Five Florida Universities Get High Marks for Their Curricula

Regrettably, no university requires economics
February 17, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC—Five Florida universities get high marks for ensuring students graduate with the skills and knowledge they need, according to a new assessment of general education requirements in the Sunshine State released today on They are: Florida State University, the University of Miami, the University of North Florida, the University of West Florida, and Florida A&M University.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a national higher ed non-profit, graded the State University System of Florida and leading private colleges based on how many of the following key core subjects they require: composition, mathematics, foreign language, science, economics, literature and American government or history. Many studies have shown that employers are dissatisfied with the basic skills and knowledge of recent college graduates.

The results were published on, ACTA’s free college guide website. The website, launched last August, has been endorsed by Mel Elfin, founder of US News & World Report’s College Rankings, and The Wall Street Journal has called its focus on learning “admirable.”

Four of the state’s 11 public universities obtained a “B” for requiring a majority of subjects, and so did the University of Miami. Nationally, less than 5 percent of universities have been awarded A’s on ACTA’s initiative. Many of the most prestigious universities received failing marks, including, Yale, Cornell, Brown and UC-Berkeley. Harvard gets a “D.”

“At a time when many of our leading universities leave education up to chance, it’s great to see that several of Florida’s universities are giving their students a leg up after graduation by providing them with a strong and coherent education,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal. “And those within the state system are doing so while charging less than $5,000 a year in tuition.”

Regrettably, none of the universities surveyed in Florida requires students to study economics and only Florida A&M has an American history or government requirement.

Grade Breakdown for Florida Universities

B (4 or 5 core courses)

— Florida State University

— University of North Florida

— University of West Florida

— Florida A&M University

— University of Miami

C (3 core courses)

— University of Florida

— Florida Atlantic University

— Florida Gulf Coast University

— Florida International University

— University of Central Florida

— Rollins College

D (2 core courses)

— University of South Florida

F (1 or 0 core courses)

— New College of Florida

— Stetson University


— 10 of the state’s 11 public universities require college-level math

— 9 have a natural science requirement

— No university requires economics

— Only Florida A&M has an American History or Government requirement

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas and accreditation in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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