April 22, 2004
What We Know About Unclassified Students
What is an unclassified student?
Most of the students in the State University System have been admitted to a program that leads to a graduate or undergraduate degree.
Out of the 271,337 students in the SUS, however, 15,304, or approximately six percent, are "unclassified" students who are not formally admitted to a degree program. This percentage in fall 2003 represents a decline from over 8% in fall 2000.
Since most unclassified students are part-time (84%, compared to 30% of all students), they accounted for less than 3% of all courses taken in 2003-04 (Preliminary).
Why are they taking courses?
We cannot tell from the data what students' intentions are, but unclassified students would include those who are taking courses for personal or professional development, or who already have a degree but need particular courses to qualify for new occupations (e.g. teaching) or for graduate programs (e.g. medical or law school). Some may be students who are enrolled or plan to enroll at private or out-of-state colleges but want to complete a course or two at a nearby SUS institution.
Education courses accounted for the largest number of credit hours, which suggests that many unclassified students may be taking courses required for initial or advanced certification. Math, Chemistry, Economics and English also had large numbers of unclassified students, who may have been filling general education requirements (College Algebra, Freshman Composition), or taking courses to prepare for medical school (Organic Chemistry, Calculus), or MBA programs (Microeconomics). Unclassified students in accounting courses may include CPAs fulfilling their biennial continuing education requirement.
About 35% of courses taken by unclassified students were at the graduate level (numbers 5000 and above) and 65% were undergraduate (4000 and lower).
Top Ten Subject Areas of Courses Taken by Unclassified Students, 2003-04 (Preliminary)
|Course Prefix||Subject/Discipline||Credit Hours|
Who are they?
The gender balance and race/ethnicity distribution of unclassified students are roughly similar to the general population, with a slightly lower proportion of black students and slightly higher proportion of Hispanic students. Florida residents accounted for 95% of courses taken by unclassified students.
Unclassified students are older than the general population, with an average age of 31 compared to 22 for all students.
Characteristics of Unclassified Students, Fall 2003
|All Students||Unclassified Students|
|Number of Students||271,337||15,304|
Where are the unclassified students?
Universities that serve a statewide population (FAMU, FSU, New College, and UF) have fewer unclassified students (0-1% unclassified) than the other institutions (2-7% unclassified), which are in larger cities and have a higher proportion of commuter students.
Unclassified Students' Credit Hours by University, 2003-04 (Preliminary)
|Credits Taken by Unclassified Students||Unclassified Students' Share of All Credits|
Where can I learn more?
For more data on unclassified students, see the Standard Enrollment Reports
Data Analysis and Institutional Research
State University System
Florida Department of Education
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399