Private College Aid May End

TAMPA -

Florida's budget crunch is reaching beyond its public universities. The governor's education budget proposes eliminating state aid for new college students attending Florida's independent universities and colleges.

Some 34,000 college students last year received a $3,000 state grant to help pay their tuition at a private, accredited Florida university or college.

The Florida Resident Access Grant program, known as FRAG, was created decades ago to alleviate enrollment pressures at public universities.

Dr. Arthur Kirk, Jr. is president of St. Leo University and chairman of the Council of Presidents of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. He says the state spends $10,000 to $12,000 per student each year at a public college. So, he says the state's investment of a $3,000 tuition grant for an independent university saves Floridians money.

Kirk is baffled by the governor's budget that eliminates the FRAG money for any new students attending independent colleges and universities except for Florida's three historically black colleges.

He and other independent university presidents plan to take their case to lawmakers in Tallahassee next week.

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