USF Provost recommends only 11 percent tuition hike, trustees now debating
University of South Florida's provost is only recommending an 11 percent tuition hike to the USF Board of Trustees -- short of a 15 percent cap allowed by law. USF trustees are now debating the issue, and it seems a vote could be tight.
"I think this really is the best solution," said Brian Goff, the student member of the USF Board of Trustees.
"I think we're shooting ourselves in the foot," said trustee Liz Bird, the board's faculty representative.
The change, said USF Provost Ralph Wilcox, was largely driven by consultation with students. It's accompanied by an increase in needs-based aid.
The recommendation follows last week’s news that the University of Florida, largely regarded as Florida’s flagship, only wants to hike tuition by 9 percent. Tuition increases at all the state’s public universities must be approved by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system and meets next week.
Staunchly opposed by Gov. Rick Scott, tuition hikes have been a lifeboat of sorts for universities during the past few years, as schools have seen state funding drop dramatically -- by about a third since 2007. Tuition increases have helped fill the gap, but not completely. They’ve been seen as necessary evils and set at 15 percent or just under that for four years in a row.
This year, the university system’s state budget cut amounts to $300 million across the 11 (soon to be 12) institutions. In calculating each university's share of that cut, the Legislature assumed that each school would have extra revenues from a speculative full 15 percent increase.