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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

UF Pres says "preeminence" bill could give more state funding, versus more tuition, to top schools



University of Florida President Bernie Machen suffered a big defeat a few months ago when Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have allowed UF unlimited tuition hikes. But now, Machen says the bill could be resurrected.

During the legislative session eariler this year, Machen, along with Florida State University President Eric Barron, said continual state budget cuts, which left holes deeper than recent tuition hikes have been able to fill, necessitated a new way of doing business. 

Machen hasn't changed his mind on that point, but now he says that with a little tweaking, the so-called "preeminence" bill could be revived-- with additional state dollars going to top universities, rather than just additional freedom to hike tuition, according to the Gainesville Sun

At least, that was the message he gave a group of UF alumni in Tallahassee. 

“The funding for preeminence may be less on the tuition side and more on the state side,” Machen said, as reported in the Sun.

Machen and Barron had pushed the preeminence bill all the way through the Legislature last session, garnering support of state education and business leaders along the way. It  required that universities meet about a dozen quality benchmarks before charging the higher rates. UF and FSU would have been the only schools that qualified.

But, as the presidents were busy lobbying lawmakers, the governor was spreading the message that he didn't believe in tuition increases. After vetoing the bill, Scott created a new task force charged with looking into potential reforms to the state university system, with the goal of making it more efficient. The panel is expected to deliver a report to the governor by October. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 4:15pm]


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