Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State university tuition going way up

TALLAHASSEE — Of the many disagreements lawmakers are having about the future of Florida's education system, one thing doesn't seem to be in contention: College tuition is going up. Way up.

Both the House and Senate budget proposals call for an 8 percent tuition increase at all state universities.

The schools then have the option of asking students to pay even more, resulting in as high as a 15 percent increase in total.

Most major universities plan on employing that option. The University of Florida has already announced a 15 percent tuition hike, as it did last year.

The final packages at the University of South Florida and Florida International University haven't been decided yet, but spokesmen for both schools say they most likely will enact 15 percent increases.

"This is in order to provide a good quality of education, to be where our peer institutions are,'' said Steve Orlando, a UF spokesman.

The rocketing rates come at a time when lawmakers are working to revamp higher education in Florida. Among the proposed changes are raising standards for the Bright Futures scholarships and tasking the Board of Governors — which oversees the university system — with finding ways to pull ahead in U.S. News and World Report's rankings of top state universities, where UF is currently tied for 15th with University of Texas in Austin and Penn State.

"We are the fourth-largest state in the country,'' said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, the Ormond Beach Republican who heads the state's higher education budget committee. "We should have the best universities.''

The optional hike is known in the Capitol as the "tuition differential.'' Last year, the state began allowing all 11 of its universities to tack on additional tuition costs — as long as 30 percent of the new revenue goes toward need-based aid, and the rest toward improving undergraduate academics. Community colleges don't have a differential tuition option.

That aid might help soften the blow for recipients of the Bright Futures scholarships, which have traditionally paid the full cost of tuition at state universities and colleges for students with top grade-point averages and test scores. In the best-case budget scenario, the amount of money given to each Bright Futures recipient won't increase next year, despite the tuition increases.

The average cost for tuition and fees at a Florida university hovers around $4,500 per year — among the lowest in the country. Schools could cost anywhere between $350 and $700 more next year.

The universities will be allowed to use differential tuition at such a rate until they reach the nationwide average tuition of state universities, which is around $6,500 a year.

Dean Colson, a member of the Board of Governors, said current tuition rates in Florida don't do enough to create a more ideal academic environment, one that fosters undergraduate research and provides financial aid for the underprivileged.

"The additional revenues (from differential tuition) can help us develop a world-class education system,'' Colson said.

Robert Samuels can be reached at rsamuels@miamiherald.com.

Tuition and fees
at a glance

Here is how the yearly tuition at the University of Florida has risen over the past few years and a projection for the upcoming year. Other state universities run roughly around the same cost:

2006-07 $3,206
2007-08 $3,257
2008-09 $3,777
2009-10 $4,373
2010-11 $5,028

State university tuition going way up 04/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010 1:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New in theaters July 4 weekend: 'Despicable Me 3,' 'Baby Driver,' 'The House,' 'The Beguiled'

    Movies

    OPENING Thursday:

    DESPICABLE ME 3

    One of Hollywood's most successful animation franchises isn't about "me" anymore; it's about them.

    Gru (Steve Carell) squares off against Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) in Despicable Me 3.
  2. Uhurus cancel Baker protest

    Blogs

    Jesse Nevel's campaign had planned to stage an anti-Rick Baker protest outside the St. Petersburg Yacht Club this evening while Baker held a fundraiser inside.

    Now, that's not happening.

    Jesse Nevel's Uhuru-affiliated campaign postpones protest
  3. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]

  4. 'Today is not a dream;' St. Petersburg ready to start building new pier

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG —Three years ago, with the now demolished inverted pyramid still standing stubbornly in the background, Mayor Rick Kriseman laid out a plan to replace or renovate the iconic structure.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addresses the crowd Wednesday morning at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new pier. Construction will start next week. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  5. Hillsborough and Pinellas officials can't even agree that they agreed to meet

    Local Government

    Tampa Bay political leaders often tout taking a regional approach to solve the region's most pressing issues. But the challenge has been getting Hillsborough and Pinellas County leaders together on the same page.

    Or in this case, in the same room.

    This month Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill (above) nixed a joint meeting of the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Commissions. But Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long said her Hillsborough counterpart, Stacy White, had already agreed to two meetings. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]