The president of Florida State University says one of the few ways state universities have at their disposal to keep from losing quality in the face of staggering budget cuts, is to bring in more tuition.
That's exactly what he's talking about doing.
FSU President Dr. Eric Barron spoke before the Florida Board of Governors this week.
He pointed out that bringing in more tuition is one of those few methods available to the university after having $85 million cut over the past three years.
Florida has among the lowest tuition rates in the nation.
The national average right now for tuition and fees is about $7,700 a year.
In-state undergraduates at FSU currently pay about $5,200 a year. But, only $3,156 of that is tuition each year.
President Barron says FSU would have to raise tuition 15 percent a year for several years to even approach the current national average.
FSU student Stephanie Nieset said, "I don't think it's okay, because if it's lower, that's one of the reasons that we're coming here instead of any of the other colleges. So, if he raises them, people might want to go elsewhere."
School administrators say any increase of 15 percent to tuition at FSU would be calculated on the $3,156, which breaks down to about $38 a month.
President Barron says virtually no students at FSU have to pay anything close to full tuition and fees, because he says the vast majority are covered by Bright Futures, federal Pell grants, or other scholarships.
University officials say therefore, more than 70 percent of in-state FSU students pay less than $750 a year.
FSU graduate student Christian Ruark said, "Without it, I don't know if I would be here in grad school. So, it's just been a great opportunity to come here and not have to pay for my education."
The Florida legislature sets the base tuition, which is currently eight percent, and the universities have the flexibility to decide if they want to set a "differential" tuition on top of that. School officials say most have done so, adding enough to get them up to the maximum of 15 percent.
FSU added seven percent to the legislature's eight percent.
Each university also has to get its board of trustees to approve the additional tuition, as well as the Florida Board of Governors.
University officials say "This is sure to be a long-running discussion in the coming months, during the legislative session and beyond, as all the state universities try to figure out how to move forward without losing the quality they have so far managed to maintain."