Fla. Supreme Court Upholds Legislature's Tuition Power

Jan 31, 2013

The Florida Supreme Court has finally settled a long-running argument over which state entity has the power to set university tuition and has sided with the legislature over the Florida Board of Governors. The   Board, which oversees the state’s public universities, was once a party to the lawsuit but withdrew after striking a deal with the legislature to share tuition-setting authority.

Former Governor Bob Graham brought the lawsuit, saying the board should have the tuition power because he believes the legislature is too political. But in its ruling, the Florida Supreme Court said politics or not, the legislature still controls the purse strings.

In writing the opinion Justice Barbara Pariente said when the board was created in 2002 lawmakers never gave it tuition authority. And during oral arguments in the case, she was skeptical of those claims:

“The power to set tuition and fees and collect those and decide how they’re expended, the judicial branch, which is a co-equal branch of government, has no control over that. That’s legislative," Pariente said at the time.

The ruling doesn’t change much. Back in 2007, the board of governors and legislature agreed to split tuition sharing authority and cap increases at 15 percent a year. 

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