College students rally against Scott's "attack on education"
Across the state this week students at seven college campuses will gather to protest what they call a "relentless attack on higher education" by Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott has been a vocal skeptic of the liberal arts emphasis of traditional higher ed, instead calling for more of a focus on fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Last month he sent out a lengthy probe out to leaders of all 11 public universities, seemingly asking them to justify themselves by providing information about their costs, programs and graduates' chosen fields and salaries.
The rallies, at the University of South Florida, USF St. Petersburg, University of Florida, University of Central Florida Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University and Florida State, are also meant to draw attention to 15 percent tuition hikes okayed by the Legislature a couple years ago, in addition to changes to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
Most are happening on Thursday. USF St. Pete's is today at 1 p.m., at the campus's entrance.
The statewide protests comes just a couple weeks after USF students gathered to speak out against those same tuition hikes. A few years ago state leaders approved raising tuition by up to 15 percent per year, and since then it's gone up by that much consistently (It's worth noting, however, that Florida's public universities remain among the cheapest in the nation). In addition, the standards to receive the Florida Bright Futures scholarship program, which pays either 75 or 100 percent of tuition with Florida lottery dollars, were upped. All because of shrinking state revenue dollars, which don't seem like they'll be turning around anytime soon.