Proposed Nursing Program At TCC On Hold After Legislative Moratorium

May 2, 2014

A nursing student at Tallahassee Community College practices her skills in this undated photo.
Credit Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee Community College officials hoping to start up the school's first baccalaureate program will have to wait a while longer.

The Florida legislature has approved a moratorium on the creation of new baccalaureate programs at community colleges after several lawmakers expressed concern that many existing programs were duplicative or didn't adhere to local workforce needs.

A last-minute amendment by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, to get a carve-out for TCC failed. Montford had tried to attach the language to a larger bill dealing with the state's early learning and voluntary pre-kindergarten programs.

Montford argued TCC should be exempt from the moratorium because it had already started the process of developing its program last year.

"This is a good program. They’re well into the process. They sent the letter in Dec. 13 to the chancellor, it’s not their fault they got delayed by a decision we did," Montford told the Senate.

But incoming Senate Majority Leader, Lizbeth Benacquisto, argued against the plan.

"We have taken a position as a body to have a comprehensive approach…and to carve out an exception to one, I just can’t support." she said.

Montford's amendment failed, and that means TCC's planned baccalaureate nursing program, will be delayed. The college wanted the program to fulfill what it claimed was a local workforce need. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital wants 80 percent of its nurses to have bachelor's degrees in the next few years.

Both Florida A&M and Florida State University were supportive of TCC's planned program--which would have been geared toward nurses without bachelor's degress.