How much does being cheap cost? Florida State University is already finding out, even before the Legislature's $300 million cut to higher education and less-than-expected tuition increases take effect for 2012-13.
FSU president Eric Barron told Gov. Rick Scott's higher education reform panel Monday that 58 of the arts and sciences faculty members have been offered out-of-state jobs — and FSU lost all but eight of them for salaries that averaged $20,000 more.
Florida, Barron complained, has become a "farm team" for other states. "Another university looks and says, 'Wow, they've got an excellent faculty member, but they don't give raises there; I can pluck them off for even cheaper than what I pay an associate professor,' " he told the Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform.
Imagine Barron's frustration. Now in his third year at the university, he's been working hard to find a way to better fund his institution, only to be thwarted at every turn. First, Scott vetoed a bill FSU pushed that would have given at least FSU and the University of Florida the discretion to raise tuition substantially in hope of funding excellence. Then last week he watched as the Board of Governors, intimidated by Scott's calls for no tuition increases, whittled FSU's request for a 15 percent increase in differential tuition to 13 percent with little rhyme or reason.
The price of being cheap? Fifty faculty members and counting.