TAMPA — After they've paid for classes and books and food and rent, do college students have leftover money to give away?
The University of South Florida thinks so.
An organization being formed this week by the USF Foundation, called Bull Raisers, will have students soliciting fellow students for donations. The money will be used to pay for things such as financial aid and to support campus organizations.
USF is recruiting participants this week — just days after the Florida House approved a budget that includes an 8 percent tuition increase. The university system is expected to follow up with an additional 7 percent hike, just like last year.
Is this really the best time to ask students for cash?
Victor Teschel, an assistant director at the USF Foundation who is helping the group get started, said the real goal is introducing students to philanthropy, and there is no dollar figure in mind.
"We just want to give the students a channel to give back," Teschel said.
Students will be asked to give "whatever they're comfortable with."
Kelly Torres, a USF international studies senior and president of the group, said students will have a say in where their money goes through surveys.
She said much of it will be given to students in need.
"It's students helping other students," Torres said.
The reaction on campus Thursday was mixed.
Andrew Hallmark, a biochemistry junior, doesn't mind the idea.
"They can solicit all they want," Hallmark said. "If it was mandatory, it would be different."
Matthew Harper, a junior studying business management, felt differently.
"I think it's garbage," he said. "That's what alumni are for."
Schools across the country solicit from current students, Teschel said.
Florida State has its own student foundation with students in charge of fundraising efforts, a spokeswoman said.
The University of Florida asks its students for donations, too, but it waits until students are getting ready to graduate.
State universities such as University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University and New College of Florida do not ask.
"While students are off limits," New College spokesman Jake Hartvigsen said, "we do, of course, let their parents know about our fundraising needs."