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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott wants colleges to show how much grads earn



Gov. Rick Scott has asked Florida universities and colleges to show how many of their graduates are getting jobs and what those alums are earning.

"I'd like to understand why our universities cost what they cost," Scott said during an interview this morning on 97.3 FM in Gainesville.

Scott's team asked for time on the radio station, about six miles away from Florida's second largest university, to raise questions about the the type of graduate being produced by the state's higher education system and whether tuition should be increased this year.

"Look, they know how to fix education," Scott said of university officials. "My goal is to say, 'Look, this is where I want to go.' I know that the jobs, the growing jobs in our state over the next 10 years, are going to be science, technology, engineering and math degree jobs.

"So what are we doing?" Scott said. "What percentage of our graduates are in those areas? How are we promoting that? What's our success? Is it going up, is it going down? So that's the type of things I'm asking for."

Florida's higher education system will be a top target for Scott this year.

As part of his legislative roll-out last week, he suggested the state should subsidize education based on subject, giving more to science-related degrees and less to liberal arts programs like anthropology.

"Let's make sure that our universities are first saying, 'Hey employers, what sort of jobs are out there so we can make sure we tell our students what the job market is like,'" Scott said.

Scott also recently posted online a list of salaries for more than 50,000 university employees. Scott has signaled his interest in putting limits on tenure for professors, but his press team has said the information was released in the name of transparency.

Other data on Scott's public records is related to Scott's political targets, such as salaries for state workers (whose benefits were cut after a push from Scott) and a list of most expensive pension payments (Scott has made pension reform a top issue).

Last week, Scott also sent letters to Florida 11 university presidents asking for information on required classes for undergraduates, how many students are finding work and a list of their 50 highest-paid employees.

"What I'm trying to do is get information out to people so they can make sure that they're happy with the decisions that are being made," Scott said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 11:05am]


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