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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House quickly passes bill allowing market-rate tuitions at UF, FSU



The House today approved a bill that would give the University of Florida and Florida State University more power to set higher tuition.

Proponents of HB 7129, which allows more flexibility in raising tuition, say both schools will now better compete with top universities across the nation. They point to Florida’s low tuition as justification for the added tuition flexibility.

“The Florida House has heard the ideas and suggestions of our leaders in higher education loud and clear: they are striving to become competitive with our nation’s top universities and require more flexibility to take them there,” said House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. “I applaud the House for rejecting the status quo and embracing the desire to become globally competitive in the area of higher education.”

Frank Brogan, chancellor of the state university system, thanked the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, in a letter Friday.

“History will show this to be a significant component of your considerable legacy,” Brogan wrote. “We thank you for the ongoing conversations leading up to this final legislation.”

The bill requires that universities meet 11 of 14 benchmarks before getting that additional tuition-setting power. UF meets all of them. FSU meets 11. If it became a reality, the universities' boards of trustees and the Florida Board of Governors would still have to sign off on any new increases.

They'll be needed. Both chambers are proposing massive state funding cuts to the university system for the fifth year in a row.

-- Kim Wilmath and Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writers

[Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 8:00pm]


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