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Universities lay out growth plans despite unsure future

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-974970.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Board of Governors is meeting to lay out a five-year work plan for each of the 11 state universities. But as Lynn Hatter reports, when it comes to decisions on whether to grow or not, the schools are hampered by one main thing that's in short supply right now- money.

Schools are increasing tuition and hiking fees in order to make up for budget cuts. But it's still not enough to stay competitive with other universities in the nation. That's what the University of Florida says. It's the 17th best public university in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report. University President Bernie Machen says the school could break into the top 10, if it had the right resources.

"If you want us to move up in the national rankings, we have to be able to hire more world class faculty. And it takes dollars. I've said it to the legislature, I've said it to you, I've said it to the people around this table. And it's not going anywhere. So I mean, you could say it's my fault for not convincing them, but you can't say I haven't told them."

And there's another threat looming a proposed constitutional amendment limiting how much money the state can collect from taxpayers and universities worry they could lose more money if it passes.