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Scott says Polytech "will pay off in the long run", FSU/UF tuition bill in limbo

Governor Rick Scott says he thinks Florida’s new Polytechnic University will pay off in the long run. Lynn Hatter reports it was the Governor’s first public statements about the new school since approving its creation a few days ago.

The new Florida Polytechnic University comes at a time when the rest of the state’s universities are taking a $300 million dollar cut. Scott says it’s time for the universities to prioritize their programs and that the new university is part of that reorganization process.

“I signed that bill because as you know, I believe in STEM degrees and there’s a big need and big opportunity for the state to continue to grow. And I believe long term it will pay off in jobs.”

Florida Polytechnic University was formed by allowing the University of South Florida’s Polytechnic campus to become independent. It will start its life as a new university July 1. The Florida Board of Governors has a meeting set for May 23rd to begin the process of creating the school, which right now exists largely on paper.

The Governor says he’s still undecided on whether to sign a bill that would let the University of Florida and Florida State University break free of the state’s 15-percent a year tuition cap. Scott told reporters he's drafted both an approval and veto letter for the bill.

“ What I care about in thinking that through is, is what we’re doing making sure kids are able to  afford their higher education, and are they going to make sure that they’re going to get degrees where they can get jobs.”

The Governor says he doesn’t want to see any tuition increases at the universities unless they can show how those increases lead to job creation. The schools are expected to request approval to raise tuition this year from the board that oversees them, the Florida Board of Governors.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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