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Editorial: Tuition hike worth paying for

After hearing Gov. Charlie Crist’s plan to increase Florida college tuition annually by 15 percent for the next eight years, many college students might have a negative reaction.

Most college students struggle financially, and being forced to pay more money is not an encouraging thing.

But Florida in-state students currently live as royalty anyway, paying the cheapest tuition rates in the country.

The plan would cap the tuition increases at the national average, and it would take seven to 10 years to even skim the surface of that level.

This plan, though costly at first, will make the college degree – and the experience – more valuable.

There are 15.9 million students currently enrolled in college, according to the  U.S. Census Bureau, and some of those are only there because someone else – a parent, grandparent, or fiancé – is forcing them.

But with the newly passed plan, it will be ensured only those who want to be in college actually will be.

Faculty and staff at Florida’s top universities will be able to better focus on the students who are truly interested in learning and graduating from college with much more knowledge and experience.

The value of a bachelor’s degree will considerably increase if diplomas aren’t handed out right and left to millions of Americans who complete a few requirements.

It is almost the norm to have a bachelor’s degree now, and one must go beyond that in order to stand out in the career market.

While this is not a bad thing, it still cheapens the value of the college degree.

If the population of college students is once again limited to students who are passionate about obtaining a degree and using the information they’ve learned, higher education will again actually be higher education – not just a set of requirements high school graduates must work through.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree should be something rare – something to be proud of. And spending a little extra money will be well worth what is gained: better dedicated teachers and students.

With Crist’s plan, nearly $72 million will be generated from the tuition hike, 30 percent of which would go to a need-based scholarship fund and the salaries of top faculty.

Professors, who shy away from the worst paying state in the nation, might finally consider teaching at the University of Florida, Florida State University or UNF.

That should be a price students are willing to pay.

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    RyanJan 4, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Must be nice to “live like royalty” while going to college. What college student have you talked to? What a shallow article.