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. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  2. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  3. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  4. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba


    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  5. Engage Behavioral Health expands into Wesley Chapel


    On Aug. 5, Engage Behavioral Health celebrated the grand opening of a new clinic in Wesley Chapel.

    hillsevbiz081117: Jennifer Phelps is the CEO & Founder of Engage Behavioral Health. Photo courtesy of Engage Behavioral Health.