Bill to raise tuition headed to the governor
Two days after the Senate passed a bill to allow all state universities to raise tuition as much as 15 percent a year, the House followed suit today on a 101-17 vote. The measure now heads to the desk of Gov. Charlie Crist, who made it one of his legislative priorities for 2009.
SB 762 allows all 11 state universities to charge a tuition differential, or supplement, which is a power previously awarded to the University of Florida, Florida State, South Florida, Central Florida and Florida International.
Combined with base tuition, the increases cannot equal more than 15 percent a year and must be approved by the Board of Governors, the goal being to get Florida to the national average of more than $6,500 for tuition and fees. In-state tuition and fees for a full-time student in Florida are now less than $3,900 a year.
In debate, Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said that while it seems the wrong time to raise tuition, "we must look toward the future."
"If our universities and colleges are to compete with other universities and colleges across the nation," Rouson said, "we must allow them to raise the rates, to raise the tuition, to raise the necessary capital to invest in themselves."
Crist had this to say about the bill, which he intends to sign:
"The vote today ensures these schools have the resources they need in order to achieve academic excellence. Students with financial needs, faculty members and researchers will benefit from these efforts to strengthen Florida ’s 11 state universities and help them compete with schools across the nation.”