TALLAHASSEE - The head of Florida State University told Gov. Rick Scott's higher education reform panel Monday that budget cuts are making his faculty a "farm team" for out-of-state schools.
Florida State president Eric Barron said shrinking state support, including a $300 million cut for the State University System in the budget year beginning Sunday, has meant that Florida State cannot prevent its best faculty members from leaving for higher paying jobs. He added that will make it more difficult to attract top students as well as research dollars from corporations and the federal government, key factors in promoting job creation and the state's economic development.
Of 58 arts and sciences faculty members who received outside offers, Florida State was able to retain only eight, Barron said. He said they received offers that averaged $20,000, or 24 percent, more than they were making at Florida State.
Barron said he can match competing schools in starting pay but not for higher ranking professors.
"They're letting us become the farm team for other states," Barron told the Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform.
Asked about Barron's comments to the task force, Scott acknowledged that students and their parents, as consumers, would be willing to pay more for a better education.
"We've started the process of having that conversation, and I think we're going to have a lot of it over the next 12 months," he said.
At least one school appeals lesser hike
Florida Gulf Coast University is appealing a reduced tuition increase. The Board of Governors last week agreed to let the Fort Myers school raise tuition by 12 percent this fall. The university asked for a 14 percent increase. The appeal was filed Monday. The other four universities that received lower tuition increases than they requested have until today to appeal.