Mixed results as Florida lawmakers push for higher education changes
From a story in Thursday's paper:
Though the Legislature declared that Florida's community colleges cannot add any new four-year degree programs for a year, the moratorium likely won't do much in the long run to curb the popular programs.
The state Board of Education agreed to spend the next 14 months reconsidering how they approve programs. But it didn't commit to cutting back.
"We're very proud of our bachelor degree programs; we've had great success with them," said Randy Hanna, chancellor of the community college division.
The moratorium is one of numerous higher education measures the Legislature enacted, ranging from in-state tuition for veterans and undocumented immigrants to considering another engineering program. Some await Gov. Rick Scott's signature; some already have his backing.
Florida's public colleges, which traditionally did not go beyond two-year degrees, awarded 5,009 bachelor's degrees in 2012-2013, almost double the number from two years prior. The new four-year programs were supposed to focus on meeting the needs of local employers, not duplicate university offerings.
But now 24 colleges offer a total of 175 degree programs.
Sen. Joe Negron, the powerful budget chief, said the colleges are overstepping their bounds.