Florida Board of Governors Approve Higher Cost for College Education
The average cost of tuition and fees for undergraduates at Florida's 11 public universities is going up 15 percent, the maximum amount allowed by law, thanks to a decision by the Board of Governors.
The Board wrapped up a two day meeting at the University of South Florida Thursday by adding a 7 percent tuition increase to the 8 percent raise already ordered by the Legislature.
For the upcoming school year, students will pay between 21 and 32 dollars more per credit hour, depending on which school they attend. The statewide undergraduate tuition and fees total an average of just under 49-hundred dollars a year, about 27-hundred less than the national average. Florida ranks 48th out of the 50 states in terms of average tuition and fees.
Hector "Tico" Perez, chair of the Board's Budget committee, says that continued Legislative cuts to university funding have led to the increases.
"After five consecutive years of reducing state appropriations, at this point in time, there is not that much left to cut out of the budgets," Perez said, shortly before the committee voted on the proposed increases.
"I think our universities have done a great job of trimming the fat and making due with they can, but as I said last year, at this point in time, we have stopped trimming the fat, and now we're starting to sever bone, and we need to put a stop to this as much as possible."
But Michael Long, the student representative on the Board, says along with other moves, the increase has the cost of education skyrocketing.
"With a twenty percent cut in Bright Futures this year, and the looming predicted cut in Pell Grants, it's going to be much, much greater to students" said Long, who added that when those cuts and the tuition increases are combined, he'll have to pay almost two-thousand dollars more for school this year.
Long, a second-year environmental policy student at New College of Florida, voted against differential requests for Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of North Florida in support of their student body presidents, who opposed the hikes.
The last time Florida did not raise tuition statewide was the 1995-96 school year.
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