Tuition to rise again


Gov. Charlie Crist announced a plan Nov. 21 that will allow each of Florida’s 11 public universities to recommend tuition rate increases up to $370 per semester next year, according to the Florida Board of Governors.

The plan is scheduled to allow each university the ability to recommend tuition rate increases up to 15 percent annually as long as schools are actively working toward the governor’s 10-point plan – a plan geared to lower the gap between Florida’s tuition and the national average.

“A well-educated workforce opens the door to endless opportunities for every Floridian and for the Sunshine State,” Crist said in a statement. “By working together, my administration, the Legislature and the higher education community can make our universities stronger than ever. This proposal is an example of the improvements we can make for college students by bringing stakeholders together.”

The state Legislature will initially raise tuition to adjust for inflation. After that, it will be up to each university’s Board of Trustees to recommend any further tuition hikes.

The proposal, which still requires approval from the legislation, could generate up to $72 million in additional revenues for schools, 30 percent of which will go to need-based tuition assistance, Crist said.

The rich will be able to afford school, the less fortunate will be able to get need-based assistance but there are those who are too rich to be poor, and those who are barely making it as it is now. They are students who must be kept in mind while discussing tuition increases, said UNF President John Delaney, who was selected as president-in-residence of the Board of Governors Nov. 22.

Delaney also hopes the plan will ensure Florida schools have a qualified faculty, he said.

“[The proposed rate increase is] to hire faculty and lower class size, while 30 percent goes back to scholarships and student services, which will allow us to maybe admit more students,” Delaney said. “We actually reduced the number of students by 1,000 due to a lack of faculty, and we didn’t want the existing students penalized. [UNF has] the smallest class size ratio in the entire state.”

Florida’s average in-state, four-year tuition for the 2008-2009 academic year is $3,808 per 30-credit school year, which is in stark contrast to the $6,585 national average, according to the Board of Governors.

“The subsidy rate [for college tuition] is 70 percent; it’s the biggest subsidy in the country since we have the lowest tuition in the country,” Delaney said. “The right answer is more than 30 percent. There has been a 14 percent budget cut from the state this year, with another 15 percent coming. We do not want to cut the quality of the education.”

“The 100-percent students [under Bright Futures] haven’t been use to paying for additional fees, this is the group that will be seeing costs they haven’t seen yet,” Kaye said. “Although, it is a smaller group than the students who receive 75 percent tuition assistance, as they are already use to seeing additional charges.”

E-mail James Cannon at [email protected]