Make us your home page

House higher education plan includes tuition increases, budget cuts

TALLAHASSEE — Florida college students can start bracing for higher tuition bills again come fall.

Leaders in the House proposed raising tuition by 8 percent next year at public colleges and universities as part of a budget unveiled Tuesday.

Most universities also expect to seek an additional "differential" tuition of up to 7 percent, said Frank Brogan, chancellor of the state university system.

The House proposal cuts the state's contributions to higher education by more than 6 percent, suggesting another year of budget cuts at the same time tuition rises. Universities increased tuition 15 percent in 2011.

"It's really disappointing. ... It's not surprising though," said Michael Long, a New College sophomore who is the student member of the Board of Governors overseeing universities.

The Republican-controlled Legislature previously gave its universities the power for annual increases of up to 15 percent until tuition reaches the national average. That raised tuition by $600 for a full-time student at the University of South Florida this year, bringing the cost with fees to more than $5,000.

"The alternative, without the additional student support, is grim," said Brogan, noting the risk of less faculty and programs. "It's almost become a necessary evil when you see a continued decline in base funding from the state."

The Senate has yet to release a higher education spending plan. Individual members are resisting talk of additional budget cuts.

"I think it's absolutely not the time to be cutting any education funding, whether its K-12 or higher education," said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, chair of Senate higher education spending panel.

The House measure tightens requirements for Bright Futures scholarships, which are paid from lottery revenue, as part of an 11 percent cut to state financial aid programs. The proposal also shortens the window most students have to start using Bright Futures aid, from three years after high school graduation to two.

And renewal of those scholarships will require better grades, too.

The spending plan includes no additional funding for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. House members heard from university presidents this month on ideas but legislators have yet to prioritize the idea, which has been a priority for Gov. Rick Scott.

"There's nothing in this budget for STEM," said Rep. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, who chairs the House higher education budget committee.

Students plan a rally Thursday for more smaller tuition increases to keep college affordable, among other issues. Long, the New College sophomore, said students realize the need to adequately fund universities, but state leaders need to keep costs affordable or risk losing students to schools out of state.

David DeCamp can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @DeCampTimes.

House higher education plan includes tuition increases, budget cuts 01/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 4:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]