Advertisement
  1. Education

With tuition rising slightly, Gov. Rick Scott asks board to be tough on fees

Florida resident tuition at the University of South Florida will go from $4,506 this school year to $4,558 next school year.
Published Jun. 20, 2013

TAMPA — Despite Gov. Rick Scott's pleas, tuition is going up slightly at all but two of Florida's universities.

So Scott is returning to the board that oversees state universities with a new request: Be tough on fee increases.

Scott on Wednesday asked the Florida Board of Governors to carefully consider fee hikes for students next year. The board will decide what to do today as it wraps up three days of meetings at the University of South Florida.

In a letter, Scott stopped just short of asking board members to reject increased fees, saying Floridians need to be able to afford a degree in order to get a good job.

"I would ask that you consider those students and families first as you prepare to vote on the university fee increase proposals tomorrow," Scott wrote.

Ten of 11 universities are considering raising fees, most by around $50 to $100 a year for an in-state student. (The University of Florida is holding fees flat, and the state's 12th school, Florida Polytechnic, does not yet have students.)

Several schools have bused in students to help make the pitch to board members. But it's unclear what board members, most of whom are appointed by Scott, will do.

Meanwhile, board members have essentially agreed to small tuition increases.

All state universities are increasing tuition by 1.7 percent next school year, as required by law to keep pace with inflation. That automatic increase was triggered once Scott vetoed a 3 percent tuition increase approved by the Legislature.

But two schools, Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic University, said they would reduce students' tuition bills by a similar amount to cancel out the hike. Leaders at both schools said promises they made earlier in the year coupled with additional state funding guided their decision.

But they also heard from Scott, who met with or phoned leaders at all the state universities to urge them to reject the tuition increase.

"That decision was made prior to our meeting with Gov. Scott," said acting FAU president Dennis Crudele, whose school is eschewing an estimated $930,000 in tuition increases.

FGCU president Wilson Bradshaw said the Legislature's decision to give his school special funding — $6.5 million a year — made it easier to reject the tuition hike. Keeping tuition flat had been in the plan for months, he said.

"We didn't have to readjust what we were doing," Bradshaw said. "We had already made those assumptions."

Though Scott's tuition campaign was the biggest issue hanging over the Board of Governors, they mostly avoided talking about it. Instead, board members focused on student progress and goals outlined in each university's work plan.

Florida A&M University detailed its blueprint for being removed from accreditation probation and for improving student graduation rates. Interim president Larry Robinson said enrollment may take a dip in the fall because the school is admitting fewer students who fail to meet minimum requirements.

Board of Governors members said they wanted to hear more from USF about its two branch campuses, which are lagging behind the main campus in freshman retention rates and the number of students pursuing science and math degrees. And they continued to express skepticism that Florida Polytechnic will be ready to admit its first class of students in fall 2014.

UF and Florida State University officials outlined plans to use extra funding from the Legislature to increase their national standing. UF was awarded an additional $15 million for five years in order to crack the top 10 public universities.

President Bernie Machen said he thinks the school can "make a good run" at the top 10 with that money but stopped short of a guarantee.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 63-year-old crossing guard was hospitalized, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  2. Yesterday• Hillsborough
    Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a woman fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  3. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, right, and  school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa on Friday. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Much is unclear at this point, say Hillsborough school officials, who promise to be open and transparent with the community,
  4. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
  5. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  6. Meaghan Leto, (center facing street), a speech therapist from Twin Lakes Elementary, protests over pay with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of a School Board meeting.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Yogi Goswami
    The Molekule Air Mini is a scaled-down version of its original purifier.
  8. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    As expected, the union rejected the district’s plan to add work for middle and high school teachers in exchange for more money.
  9. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018) Hernando County School District office, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville
    Hernando County debates the pros and cons of superintendent John Stratton’s recommendation.
  10. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    A new proposal also aims to strengthen programs at the university’s St. Petersburg and Sarasota locations.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement