Florida Governor Rick Scott repeated his opposition to tuition increases before the Board that oversees the state’s public universities. Scott addressed the Board of Governor’s during its luncheon Tuesday, saying he wants universities to keep costs low. Scott's comments come as the board weigh tuition proposals from most of the state’s universities.
The state university system was dealt a $300 million dollar cut by the legislature this year. And tuition increases only cover about 35-cents on the dollar. In his address to the Board of Governors, Governor Rick Scott said the school’s need to tighten their belts:
“First, have you gone through and looked at everything you can to reduce your cost? What you have to do in business, you look at, can I outsource something to do it less expensively?”
But universities argue they’ve been doing that for years. The state university system has lost about 45-percent of its state funding over the last several years and those cuts have led to program closures and faculty and staff layoffs. Florida Atlantic University is considering closing some branch campuses.
Shortly after his address to the BOG, the Governor's Press Office released the following statement:
Orlando, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott outlined his vision for Florida’s state university system with five goals that would give Florida a competitive edge over other states:
- Be No. 1 in university and college affordability.
- Be No. 1 for graduates finding jobs in their fields of study.
- Be No. 1 in the percentage of students receiving STEM degrees.
- Have Florida university graduates be ranked No. 1 in preparation for the workforce, as named by Florida employers.
- Be the No. 1 place where taxpayers feel they are getting a good return on their investment in higher education.
Governor Scott expressed his concern that tuition rates have risen 71 percent over the past four years. He also pointed out that the out-of-pocket costs for a student with a Bright Futures Scholarship at the University of Florida has increased by about $5,000 since the 2007-08 school year. College graduates are facing unprecedented levels of debt, with the debt of students at public four-year institutions and private non-profit four year institutions averaging $21,184 statewide.
“Every Floridian wants the same three things: for government to make sure it doesn’t increase the cost of living, the opportunity to get a job, and the opportunity to get good education,” Governor Scott said. “Florida’s state universities are important to making all three of things available to the people of our state.”
Governor Scott addressed the Florida Board of Governors and state university system presidents in Orlando, thanking them for their commitment to hold Florida’s university system accountable and urging them to make the tough choices that will give Florida’s university graduates and the state of Florida the greatest chance of success.