Rally in Tally

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - John Stevenson, a journalism student at West Florida University in Pensacola, covers the state legislature for his school paper.

“This is a great time to start getting involved in the legislature, and continue to do so as an adult,” said Stevenson.

John and more than a hundred students from Florida’s 11 public universities traveled to the state capitol Tuesday, upset over proposed changes and cuts to higher education.

While the number of concerns were as plentiful as the number of schools represented at the state capitol, freshmen and sophomores seem to have the same concern cuts to the Bight Future’s Scholarship Program.

Lawmakers want to cut 100 million dollars from the program. Those changes would leave FAU Freshman Brittany Finn looking for more money to pay for school.

“I’ve got 75 percent so of course it’s a majority of my tuition and fees,” said Finn.

There’s also talk of closing enrollment in Florida’s Prepaid College Program. One in five students at state universities has a prepaid plan. The program helped USF Senior Lara McDermott pay for school. She worries about future students.

“Parents are going to have to make hard choices, students are going to have to make choices about whether or not they are going to have to accrue massive amounts of debt,” said Lara.

University Systems Chancellor Frank Brogan, a guest speaker at the rally, held an impromptu meeting with students. He was kind but blunt.

“The legislature for the last three or four years with all the budget cuts, pulled every rabbit out of every hat. There are just no rabbits left,” said Brogan.

And with federal stimulus dollars all gone, tuition at all schools will likely increase by 15 percent, and that still won’t be enough to stave off budget cuts. Education funding is expected to drop by at least 150 million dollars this year as lawmakers struggle to find ways to fill the 3.75 billion dollar budget hole.

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  • by College Students, Never give up! Location: Florida on Mar 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM
    Dear High School and college students, Our government has let you down with severe budget cuts in education. Whatever you do in life, never give up on yourself. Fight for your education the best way you can, through your vote, internships, working part time, etc. We know it will be very hard on you now. Your intellegence, brillant mind and skill are key to Forida's economic recovery and survival. I'm a concerned taxpayer citizen parent whose 2 sons are employeed in highly paid professional jobs as 2007 & 2010 graduates in FL Higher Education State Universities. My vote has always strongly gone to education. All too devestating here.
  • by Mr. Powell Location: 850 on Mar 23, 2011 at 10:50 AM
    The Lottery money alone isnt enought to fill the voids left from the Stimulus dollars. @Sha, why don't you take a look at our great Governors new website, FloridahasaRighttoKnow.com & count just how many lotto employees make above $40,000, let alone 6 figures. And they get paid from the state NOT lotto revenues or winnings.
  • by Sha Location: LO on Mar 23, 2011 at 06:54 AM
    Where is all the lottery money going? Oh yeah, people working for the lottery are getting 6 figure salaries!!!! THey need that money more than our kids need an education!
  • by Dave Location: Tallahassee on Mar 23, 2011 at 05:24 AM
    I have nothing to fear from drug tests, but if I must be tested to be employed and paid from government funds, then I think the same should apply to welfare and other government aided individuals. Fair is fair.
  • by Chas Location: Tallahassee on Mar 22, 2011 at 05:05 PM
    I have yet to read anything that Gov. Scott has done to balance the budget and help the State. I know how he wants to cut education funding, but shouldn't the funding be balanced among all areas of State spending? Is he still going forward with tax cuts to businesses at this time? I'm sorry, but at this point it looks like a Republican vendetta to pay back what Gov. Christ did. It's bad for everyone. We need balance in this State right now, NOT a swinging pendulum of political parties! I'm a proud Independent. Our State Legislature is supposed to represent US, NOT their party.
  • by Bertram Gus Dickus Location: North Florida on Mar 22, 2011 at 04:24 PM
    Don't worry, the minimum-wage jobs Rick Scott is bringing to Florida won't require education!
  • by Linda Location: Tallahassee on Mar 22, 2011 at 04:18 PM
    I recommend looking at the new Government Website. "Florida has a Right to Know". What's absence is also needed, but I sure the elected Officials are forecoming. Soon.
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