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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

23 state colleges sign on to Gov. Rick Scott's $10,000 degree challenge



Gov. Rick Scott announced today that all 23 of Florida's state college that currently produce bachelor's degrees have signed onto his challenge to create $10,000 programs. Scott first issued the challenge in November, and immediately 12 college signed on to create new bachelor's degree programs that can be obtained for about $3,000 less than average the cost of a bachelor's degree at state colleges and well below the cost of obtaining a four-year degree from a state university.

Five state colleges that don't currently have bachelor's degree programs have not stepped up to the challenge thus far. The list of 11 colleges that have not joined the challenge includes Miami Dade College and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The governor's office and Department of Education have not said specifically what programs are being developed to fulfill the challenge but have promised the degrees will be in high-demand areas.

The $10,000 degree challenge is an idea that began in Texas under Gov. Rick Perry, Scott's friendly rival. Here is the full press release from the governor's office:

Governor Rick Scott today announced that 11 additional state colleges have accepted his challenge to work to develop quality bachelor’s degree programs costing students no more than $10,000. To date, all of the 23 institutions in the Florida College System that offer baccalaureate degrees have announced their support to Governor Scott’s higher education affordability challenge.

Representatives from Miami Dade College, Polk State College, Edison State College, Florida Gateway College. Florida State College of Jacksonville, Gulf Coast State College, Indian River State College, Lake-Sumter State College, Pensacola State College, St. Johns River State College and the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota have contacted the Florida Department of Education to accept the Governor’s challenge and identify which programs would be offered for $10,000 or less. Many of the programs would be in high-demand areas.

Brevard Community College, Broward College, Chipola College, College of Central Florida, Daytona State College, Northwest Florida State College, Palm Beach State College, Santa Fe College, Seminole State College, St. Petersburg College, South Florida State College and Valencia College previously accepted the Governor’s $10,000 degree challenge.

Governor Scott said, “Higher education is key to helping our students succeed in the 21st century economy and to grow jobs in Florida. It is important our students can get an affordable education, and our state colleges have stepped up to the challenge to find innovative ways to provide a quality education at a great value. Our goal should be that students do not have to go into debt in order to obtain a degree - and today’s announcement of nearly all of our state colleges meeting this challenge puts us closer to achieving that goal for our students and families.”

Governor Scott first issued his $10k degree challenge last November and made today’s announcement at Miami Dade College’s North Campus while touring the college and learning about the $10k degrees the institution plans to offer.

Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett said, "The Florida College System is a leader in ensuring access for higher education. The colleges in the system have always focused on affordability. This shows a continued commitment, especially in the workforce area where we offer bachelor degrees. I commend all of the colleges in the Florida College System for their commitment to access and affordability and look forward to working with our colleges."

Chancellor of the Florida College System Randy Hanna said "College affordability is a key ingredient in providing opportunities for Floridians to move into their careers. All of these programs will be designed for bachelor degrees in the area of workforce development. Many of our colleges are targeting high demand programs where there can be a significant impact in the local community. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature and business and industry as we develop these programs."

Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padron said “Miami Dade College applauds Governor Scott for his leadership in advocating for greater access and affordability to higher education. We at MDC have long been committed to these goals and are pleased to unveil a ‘Pathway to the Baccalaureate’ initiative that will provide interested students the opportunity to complete one of the most affordable, high-quality workforce oriented bachelor's degrees in the nation.”

St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens, J.D. said, “St. Johns River State College is pleased to accept Governor Scott’s ‘$10,000 Degree Challenge’ and pledges to bring this opportunity to the residents of its district in the fall of 2014. We are committed to promoting the economic strengths of our communities by providing a variety of affordable, educational pathways that will lead to employment opportunities. This $10K degree program will complement the associate degree, bachelor’s degree and certificate programs currently available to students at SJR State.”

Gulf Coast State College President Dr. Jim Kerley said, "We focus on quality and value, and we believe our students receive both. We and the Board of Trustees are dedicated to offer the lowest tuition, currently the lowest in the state, and we are committed to move forward with a $10,000 bachelor’s degree. We will continue to offer workforce bachelor degrees that lead to jobs and are adamant about the affordability of higher education so students can truly start here and go anywhere. That’s our vision and our promise to the community.”

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld said, "SCF has accepted Gov. Scott's $10,000 baccalaureate degree challenge as a new opportunity to be even more inventive as we work with our partners to identify programs, existing and new, that offer the most immediate application to today's workforce needs. I have assigned a task force to work with all due speed on ideas and bring forward proposals for developing a feasible model that can be implemented in a reasonable and timely manner."

Polk State College President Eileen Holden said, “We are very proud of Polk State’s tradition of access and affordability, and we are proud and grateful that the Governor is spotlighting examples of innovation at Polk and throughout the Florida College System.”

[Last modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 11:47am]


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