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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate panel approves tuition increase plan



Despite a new poll showing overwhelming disapproval for higher college tuition, a Senate panel this morning passed a bill that would allow increases up to 15 percent annually. It passed unanimously.

"We have been getting by on the cheap for so many years that’s it’s become somewhat of a mindset," said Sen. Steve Oelrich, chairman of the Committee on Higher Education.

The bill, SB 762, is sponsored by Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie. The Legislature would still set the base tuition but individual universities would have the ability to increase rates by up to 15 percent per year, up to the national average, which is $5,390, according to a bill analysis.

The increase next year would be roughly $400, said John Delaney, acting state university chancellor. (Listen to Buzz audio from the press gaggle.)

"I know that this day has come," Pruitt said, adding that he believes parents will see the wisdom of investing in a higher education. "You think this is a populist idea? Heck no."

"It’s a tough time to raise tuition given the economy, but it’s absolutely essential," said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:27pm]


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