University tuition votes reveal divides within board of governors
The board that oversees Florida’s public universities fought long and hard over the schools’ plans to raise tuition, and the requests narrowly cleared a sharply divided state board. The votes come after Governor Rick Scott reiterated his opposition to tuition hikes to the group earlier in the week.
Scott has made several new appointments to the Board of Governors over the past several months. And Thursday’s tuition votes reveal almost half the board agrees with the governor.
The group initially rejected the University of Central Florida’s 15-percent tuition increase plans, then reversed its decision later on. Several other schools saw their tuition increase proposals lowered to a different amount. At times, the voting was chaotic, leading the boards former Chairwoman, Ava Parker to say, “I know we’re on a roll because we’re finally getting things done, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be, and certainly one could say there was never really a method to our madness, but there really seems to be no method to our madness right now.”
In the end the Board approved tuition increases for every school that made a request. In a statement released after the votes, Scott said he was disappointed with the outcome.
Statement from Governor Scott Regarding
Board of Governors Tuition Hikes
Tallahassee, Fla. – “I’m disappointed to see the Board of Governors’ decision on tuition increases today. Tuition rates have risen 71 percent over the past four years and graduates are facing unprecedented levels of debt. We can’t continue on this path. On Tuesday, I addressed the board and outlined five goals Florida’s university system should aspire to that would give us an edge over other states for job creation:
- Be No. 1 in university 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.
“It is my priority to keep the cost of living low for Floridians and have an education system that produces the most competitive, highly skilled workforce in the world. And I expect our universities and the Board of Governors to seek those same goals.”
Here's the rundown on who got what:
University of Florida: 9 percent
University of South Florida: 11 percent
Florida State University: 13 percent
Florida Gulf Coast University: 12 percent
University of North Florida: 13 percent
Florida Atlantic University: 15 percent
University of West Florida: 14 percent
University of Central Florida: 15 percent
Florida A&M University: 12 percent
Florida International University: 15 percent
New College of Florida: 15 percent.