Tallahassee, FL -- April 12, 2012 --
An on the record skeptic of tuition increases, Governor Rick Scott has a big decision to make. And these university presidents want to help him make it.
The fate of a bill to allow FSU and UF to raise tuition above the 15 percent a year cap is in the governor’s hands. Thursday Scott listened to university administrators make a case for signing the bill.
“If I’m losing faculty it’s harder for our students to have classes and it slows down their ability to finish. That’s a waste of state dollars and that’s a waste of student dollars,” said FSU President Eric Barron.
Barron says his school is hurting. State budget cuts have cost the university 300 professors in four years. Many are leaving for better paying jobs.
“If you want innovation, if you want STEM jobs, you can’t do that by teaching people in a 300 people classroom,” Barron added.
If the governor signs the bill FSU administrators says tuition would only go up modestly next year. The big increase would come in 2014. UF has different plans.
“We will take a year to get our plan together, get it approved by the board of governors and we will only start with incoming freshman,” said UF President Bernie Machen.
A half dozen students sat in the back row hoping to speak out against the bill.
“We feel as though the student voice wasn’t heard today. The students had no opportunity to speak. That is definitely problematic,” said FSU Senior Michael Sampson.
Students have sent thousands of emails and letters asking the governor for a veto.
“You want to make sure that families in this state can afford a great education and you want to make sure it’s a great education,” said Scott.
Scott is promising a quick decision. Business groups were on hand today to support the tuition increases. They say the extra money will make the universities better, the workforce smarter and will attract high-tech businesses to Florida.