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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Dear Rick Scott, Please support Florida private colleges

6

January

It's no secret that Florida faces a twin dilemma of dwindling finances and higher education demands. Eckerd College president Donald Eastman has written an open letter to Gov. Rick Scott urging him to consider the path of putting more money into private, non-profit colleges rather than sinking more resources into the public system:

"Let me explain: To provide a seat to a student in one of the state university system institutions the state pays, on average, over $13,000 per seat per year. If the same Florida student attends a private college or university in Florida, state support is reduced to roughly $2,400 per student (this support is called the Florida Resident Access Grant — FRAG — and goes to the student, not the school. This is, as you will immediately recognize, the charter-school principle). Last year the private (nonprofit) colleges in Florida awarded 33 percent of the undergraduate degrees, 40 percent of the master's degrees, 36 percent of the doctoral and 53 percent of the professional degrees in our state. ...

... The better investment is for Florida to find ways to allow the private (but nonprofit) sector colleges to compete more favorably against the heavily subsidized public institutions, and thereby save the state an enormous amount of money. If the FRAG were increased to $5,000, for example, at 1,000 students per private institution, the state would still save nearly $240 million a year. And that is just a start. ..."

Read Eastman's full column, which he suggests fits nicely with Scott's school choice philosophy. Then answer this: Is putting more state money into the private higher education system really a better idea?

[Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 6:22am]

    

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