Student Demands

A panel discussion is planned on the FSU campus. No more tuition hikes and no more budget cuts is the message being spread across Florida campuses this week as 24 student organizations form a unified coalition to address the state Legislature.

“It's gonna take students speaking up, administrators, even parents speaking up,” says Gabriel Pendas, who is against tuition hikes.

Gabriel Pendas is a member of the FORCE, a coalition that stands for Fighting for Our Rights Concerning Education. He and several of his peers believe there's a college funding crisis in Florida and they say state leaders are to blame.

“If things aren't going right when they do the budget you can't expect us to pay for it by hiking tuition by instilling youth fees,” says Gabriel.

Pendas says since 1996 students paying in-state tuition have seen a 60 percent increase, while out of state tuition rose almost 90 percent.

“I don't think tuition hikes are good, but I don't think it has to do with Bush in office. I think if you look around the nation the average tuition hike is 12 percent,” says Scott Ross, the Florida Student Association executive director.

Ross says Florida tuition is actually below the national average, but he encourages concerned students to speak up and hold their legislators accountable.

Students and faculty can speak up during a panel discussion Wednesday night on FSU's campus. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Moore Auditorium.

We'll have an update on Eyewitness News at 11.