The University of South Florida's Board of Trustees has approved a legally required 1.7 percent tuition increase this fall for in-state undergraduate students.
Although Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a proposed 3 percent tuition increase this year, state universities still have to abide by an automatic inflation adjustment law passed in 2007, when there are no other increases. It's the first time any such move has been necessary because tuition has steadily increased every year until now. The law is akin to other state laws that permit automatic increases on things like highway tolls and gas taxes.
The USF trustees approved the increase Monday despite Scott's lobbying schools to hold the line firm on tuition, with two dissenting votes from USF board members. Schools including the University of Florida and Florida State University also accepted the increase.
"I do not support tuition increases at all," said board member Nancy Watkins. "But I have a duty to keep the university in compliance with all federal and state laws."
The governor's office issued a legal opinion explaining why schools should not accept the 1.7 percent tuition increase. Because the Legislature asked for a tuition increase, the document says, that negates the inflation requirement, with or without Scott's veto.
With the inflation increase, USF undergraduate base tuition will increase from about $103 to $105 per credit hour.