higher education

A panel convened by the Governor met Monday to continue talks on higher education accountability and funding. The group’s meeting follows decisions last week on tuition increases for the state’s public universities.

Florida State University President Eric Barron told the governor’s panel that the state’s tuition policies aren’t based on market expectations. He argues the state is keeping tuition artificially low, and as a result, the university system is suffering for it.

A months-long debate between Florida Governor Rick Scott and the state’s public universities over tuition increases came to a head this week, and the result disappointed both sides.

Once upon a time, and not too long ago, the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s public universities, simply co-signed the schools’ requests to raise tuition. The process was simple, smooth and in past years, done with little debate. But not this time.

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 Board that oversees Florida’s 11 public universities will meet over the next few days and weigh whether to approve requests for tuition increases. Due to years of budget cuts, the schools have dealt with layoffs and program closures. They’ve also raised tuition. And many of them are asking the board to raise tuition again.

The Board of Governors is also expected to hear from Governor Rick Scott, who has been a vocal opponent of tuition hikes. But the Board’s spokeswoman, Kelly Layman, says the tuition increases are a last resort.

A panel created by Governor Rick Scott to conduct a review of Florida’s public universities met for the first time Wednesday to start reviewing the university system’s governance model and the relationship between the Board of Governors and the universities.  Scott created the panel after vetoing a bill that would have let Florida State and the University of Florida charge higher tuition rates than the other state schools.

Governor Rick Scott has created a panel to examine Florida’s public universities.

The move comes after Scott vetoed a piece of legislation that would have allowed Florida State University and the University of Florida to charge higher tuition rates than other state universities. The measure also laid out a set of benchmarks for all schools to meet if they wanted the extra tuition authority.

The state’s university system saw its budget reduced by $300 million dollars this year, even as the state created a 12th public university.

The Board that oversees Florida’s public universities says the state’s budget for the upcoming year could hurt the school’s bond ratings. Lynn Hatter reports members of the Board of Governor’s say lawmakers built a lot of assumptions into the higher education budget, and the effects are already starting to unfold.

Lawmakers handed down a one-time $300 million budget cut to universities. Half of that money is coming out of the schools’ reserve funds. But the credit rating firm Moody’s, says it views the reserve cut as a credit negative. David Jacobson is the firm’s spokesman.

Florida A&M University has received another clean audit from the state. Lynn Hatter reports the latest report marks the fourth one in a row the school has gotten since it came back from a series of blistering reports that almost resulted in the loss of its accreditation back in 2006.

WFSU

The Florida Legislature has okayed a bill that would let Florida State University and the University of Florida increase tuition rates to the national average. But some FSU students are pushing back. Lynn Hatter reports, the students say Governor Rick Scott made them a tuition promise—and now they want him to stick to it.

The stage is set for an on-time adjournment of the 2012 Florida Legislative session.  Lawmakers are in a 72-hour cooling off period before they can vote on a proposed state budget. The vote can take place Friday. James Call reports House and Senate leaders have agreed to a $70 billion budget that cuts nearly $400 million from health care programs and another $300 million from the state university system.

The Florida House has agreed to start negotiating with the Senate on the proposed creation of a 12th public university in the state of Florida. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, the measure had several Democrats asking why a new school is needed:

Making the University of South Florida’s Polytechnic Campus in Polk County a separate university from USF has been a major priority for Senate Budget Chief JD Alexander. In fact, that’s what drove him to craft a bill to do so.

The House Higher Education Committee has released its plan to further revamp the state’s college and university system. Lynn Hatter reports the proposal would expand the power of the board that oversees the state’s 11 public universities—and make it harder for the colleges to establish bachelor’s degree programs.

Two of Florida’s biggest universities could soon be allowed to raise their tuition rates to the national average. Lynn Hatter reports a proposal to allow the schools to break free of the state’s tuition caps is now moving through the legislature.

flbog.org

Almost a decade after it was created the board that oversees the state university system is still working to get its footing. Over the past few months, conflicts and scandals at some of the schools have made state and national headlines. And as Lynn Hatter reports, the board’s chairman says his group should have more authority when it comes to the affairs of Florida’s universities.

A Florida Senate Committee tackled a bill Tuesday to prohibit lawmakers from working for a state college or university.  Tom Flanigan reports the bill failed after much impassioned discussion

The bill was proposed by Jacksonville Republican John Thrasher.  It would set up rules for public officials to use blind trusts in the event their business or other activities might present a conflict of interest.  Thrasher’s bill would tighten financial reporting requirements.  And it would do one other thing…

Sascha Cordner

Several Democratic lawmakers gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to garner support for a bill that would grant in-state tuition to undocumented students if they meet certain conditions. Sascha Cordner has more.

It’s the Senate’s turn to begin work on its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. Lawmakers in that chamber Tuesday began crafting the education section of the bill, which includes funding for K-12 and higher education. Lynn Hatter reports a preliminary view of the Senate’s plan includes a little more money for K-12 and a little less for colleges and universities.

The Governor and House are on diverging paths when it comes to the issue of higher education tuition increases. Lynn Hatter reports the House is poised to approve a rate hike for Florida’s college and university students, and the governor is vowing to veto it.

The House budget proposal calls for an 8-percent increase in tuition, something that students like Florida State University’s Michael Sampson say they don’t want.

 “I don’t believe raising tuition is a good idea in any economic circumstance.”

A measure that would allow the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition has been rejected by a Senate Committee. Lynn Hatter reports the vote came after hours of emotional testimony and ended in a tie.

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