Lawmakers Ready for Tuition Fight

Florida Sen. Evelyn Lynn
TAMPA -

When the Board of Governors voted to legally challenge who should control university tuition, Florida Senate President Ken Pruitt's widely quoted response was: 'We'll see you in court.'

The board believes it has constitutional authority over tuition. While state lawmakers believe it's solely a legislative duty.

It's a matter of budget according to Republican Senator Evelyn Lynn of Daytona.

'If somebody suddenly decided they wanted to raise tuition by 10 percent and had no idea whether Bright Futures would cover it or not, it would just about wipe us out.'

Lynn is chairwoman of the Higher Education Appropriations Committee. She says general tuition increases are coupled with Bright Future scholarships. So, as tuition goes so goes scholarship funding.

The senator reminded the Board of Governors at last week's meeting that lawmakers supported a 5 percent tuition hike only to have the governor veto it.

'For the Board of Governors to say 'They haven't been funding us for years,' as I explained to them at the meeting, we have taken on a totally different direction,' says Lynn. 'We have tried.'

Yet, the university system chancellor produced statistics that showed decreased funding over the last decade, something Lynn didn't dispute. But, Lynn says joining former Senator Bob Graham's lawsuit challenging the legislature's tuition control is no way for the board to support students.

Like her senate president, Lynn is ready to go to court and promised, 'Certainly the legislature will have some top lawyers.'

To listen to the Board of Governor's story, click here.

For a perspective from students and universities, click here.

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