Published: Jan 20, 2011 7:19 PM EST
Updated: Jan 20, 2011 4:19 PM EST

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Enrollment at Florida's public universities is growing, the amount spent on research and development is increasing, and online instruction is expanding.

Those are some of the highlights of an annual report on the state's 11 public universities, presented Thursday at the Board of Governor's meeting in Pensacola.

 In her 'State of the System' address, board chair Ava Parker said that 53,000 bachelor's degrees and 20,000 graduate degrees were awarded in the 2009-10 school year.

Combined, those students are expected to add an estimated $750 million annually to Florida's economy. The state now has the fourth highest public university enrollment in the nation.

Online instruction is growing, with nearly half of all students taking at least one distance learning course.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)