State University System

Florida’s public universities are uniting in a common goal: Growing business in the state. Now they've launched an initiative to show lawmakers and the public how they're doing it. / Florida Board of Governors

The Florida Board of Governors plans to take a harder look at whether schools are earning their bonuses.

Florida offers its public universities a choice: improve areas such as graduation rates and job placement or lose funding. And the State University System’s Board of Governors wants to ensure the schools are providing accurate information before funding decisions are made.

Florida’s public universities say they need an increase in financial aid to support a growing number of students who are being locked out of the state’s Bright Future’s scholarship program.

Florida officials have increased academic performance requirements for the award in recent years, a move that has largely impacted minority students. Dean Colson, who sits on the board overseeing Florida’s public universities, says he got a letter from Florida International University saying 60 percent of incoming freshman didn’t receive scholarships but would have last year.

The Florida Board of Governors is weighing how national rankings should impact the state’s public universities. When it comes to evaluating schools, the board agrees metrics should matter, but how much?

Florida’s state university system governing board wants the public universities to climb in the national rankings. But which one? Several groups rank schools. U.S. News and World Report is the most popular,  but there’s also Newsweek, and Kiplinger. The Princeton Review. And none of the outlets ranks the schools the same way. s

There's no bigger sports story in the nation this week than what Florida Gulf Coast University's team did during the first weekend of the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship.

Robert Gidel
UF College of Education

UPDATED Wed., Aug. 1, at 6:36 p.m.

The formation of Florida’s 12th and newest public university, Florida Polytechnic, comes after protests from several lawmakers and many at the University of South Florida, whose polytech program is being phased out with the creation of the new university. On Wednesday in Orlando, Florida Polytech’s board of trustees met for the first time to learn just what’s expected of them and what challenges might get in their way.

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.