Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New FSU president wants more freedom to allocate additional revenue

Florida State University's new president says his school can help boost the state's economy, but to do it FSU needs the freedom to use its resources as it sees best.

Just a month into his new job, Eric Barron said Thursday he's not looking to "jump out there and say, 'Here's what we've got to do' without knowing a lot more."

But Barron does talk of strategies that he said worked at Penn State and the University of Texas, two schools where he served as a dean.

Take tuition.

It can go up without hurting admissions, Barron told the St. Petersburg Times editorial board.

To get to the national average, FSU's tuition for Florida residents would have to rise from $4,566 to $7,020 a year.

"I don't think that being at the national average in tuition for a nationally ranked program would scare away a lot of people," he said.

It didn't at Penn State, where he said the university raised tuition consistently over the years and invested the increased revenue in faculty pay, new programs and other initiatives to enhance the quality of the university. Penn State stopped the increases once it approached being the most expensive public university in the country, he said.

To a point, Barron's thoughts on tuition are in line with those of many officials and university administrators around the state. Florida's tuition is the second lowest in the nation, and legislators have begun allowing the state's 11 public universities to charge a "differential" tuition on top of the state's base tuition.

Together, those two rates can increase tuition by up to 15 percent a year until Florida's tuition reaches the national average.

But Barron also advocates giving universities more discretion in how they spend enhanced tuition revenues.

The law allowing universities to raise differential tuition requires that the new revenue be used to improve undergraduate education and financial aid.

Barron said he would like to have the leeway to use additional revenue to improve other university programs, as well, such as research into materials science or other cutting-edge technologies that can spin off new jobs. Simply spending it to produce more undergraduates majoring in physics, he said, will not yield the same economic gains.

"I worry most when they say yes, you can raise your tuition, but you must spend it on this," he said.

Barron also said he sees "huge potential" to raise more money and philanthropic gifts from FSU's 283,000 alumni.

FSU's endowment now stands at $446.8 million, but trustees talk of Barron raising an additional $1 billion in coming years. To do it, Barron is thinking of his previous schools again.

At Texas, he said, there's one employee "on the road" raising money for every 3,800 alumni. Penn State has one employee for every 5,200 alumni.

At FSU, the ratio is one for every 14,000 alumni. The College of Arts and Sciences has just two such fundraisers for 60,000 alums.

"We're not even saying hello," Barron said.

New FSU president wants more freedom to allocate additional revenue 03/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 11, 2010 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  2. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  4. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking


    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)

  5. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
Casimar Naiboa pleads for help to capture the killer of his son, Anthony Naiboa. Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed near 15th Street N. and E. Frierson Avenue after getting off the wrong bus in Seminole Heights. A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.