[UPDATE] Tuition at Florida Universities to Go Up 15%

By: Lilly Rockwell, The News Service of Florida; Candace Sweat; AP Email
By: Lilly Rockwell, The News Service of Florida; Candace Sweat; AP Email

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, June 24, 2011 -

For the third year in a row, undergraduate students at Florida universities will pay 15 percent more in tuition.

The governing board for the State University System approved a 7 percent increase in tuition on Thursday. That’s on top of an 8 percent tuition increase approved by the Legislature earlier.

All of the Board of Governors voted for the increase, except Michael Long, the student representative from New College, who chose to vote against the increase for Florida Gulf Coast University and University of North Florida. Long said he was reflecting earlier votes by student body presidents at those schools.

The tuition increases come at a time when financial aid programs, such as the popular Bright Futures scholarship, are being cut, leaving students with bigger tuition bills. Some Board of Governors members are beginning to examine how tuition increases are impacting middle class students who aren’t eligible for need-based aid.

“We are looking at it,” said Tico Perez, a member of the Board of Governors and the chair of the board’s Budget and Finance Committee. Perez said the additional financial aid given to offset tuition increases is aimed at federal Pell grant recipients, who must meet federal low-income requirements to qualify.

“As tuition continues to increase, as Bright Futures continues to be cut…it is creating more and more of a challenge and we need to take a look at whether or not we broaden access to financial aid,” Perez said.

Universities argue that Florida students pay far less than students in other states for tuition. Florida ranks 48 in the cost of tuition and fees compared to other states, according to the College Board.

Fifteen percent is the maximum amount universities are allowed to increase tuition in a given year under state law.

University presidents spent most of Wednesday pleading their case for tuition increases to the Board of Governors. They said the hikes were needed to offset severe cuts in state funding. If it weren’t for tuition increases, universities would have to fire faculty, increase class sizes, and kill off academic programs and courses.

Some of Florida’s biggest universities – such as Florida State and the University of Florida – are fearful of losing prominent faculty and increasing class sizes because it could hurt their effort to climb in national rankings.

Some university officials are pushing for increases of more than 15 percent, such as University of Florida President Bernie Machen. The idea of the cap was to give universities time to catch up to the national average. But as other universities have also increased tuition, the national average has become a moving target.

There may be no end in sight for tuition increases in Florida. Universities disclosed to the governing board this week that without significant improvement in the economy, 15 percent tuition hikes will continue to be necessary every year. Each university, except for the University of North Florida, projected 15 percent increases the next four years.

Data presented to the Board on Thursday showed it would take at least 10 years to reach the national average assuming universities asked for 15 percent tuition increases each year, and assuming the national average of tuition and fees rose at 7 percent each year, which is the same percentage as the last five years.

“It creates a bit of a challenge to catch up to the national average,” Perez said. But he added that meeting the average is “not the goal” and is simply a “measuring device.”

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UPDATED 6-23 at 11:30pm By Candace Sweat

Students at FSU and FAMU will be paying more for tuition in the fall.
The State Board of Governors approved the increases Thursday. Now students are speaking out.

Johnathan Spooner is a bright futures student. That means a portion of his education expenses are paid for while he attends Florida State University. But he's still feeling the sting of tuition hikes, and feels even more for the students who have to go it alone.

"I'm a little appalled because it's already pretty high and it seems to be going up increasing each year. If they keep raising tuition it's gonna get harder and harder for the students that aren't eligible for financial aid," said Spooner.

The governing board for the State University System approved the seven percent increase. That's on top of an 8 percent tuition increase approved by the Legislature.

Many students are eager to hit the books, but with a seven percent tuition increase, just getting to class is becoming costly.

Take Natalie Ruiz, a freshman who also gets bright futures funding. She says she's concerned that, one day, the grant may not be enough.

"It's horrible. Especially with all the cuts that have been happening with bright futures," said Ruiz.

Here's how the numbers brake down:

A seven percent increase for Famu students equals a total of $21.42 per credit hour. While FSU students will now have to pay $32 per credit hour.

It's the kind of arithmetic Spooner and Ruiz don't look forward to this semester.

Universities told the governing board this week that without significant improvement in the economy, 15 percent tuition hikes will continue to be necessary every year. However, Florida universities still rank 48th in the nation for the cost of tuition.

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Tampa, FL (AP) - The Board of Governors that oversees Florida's 11 public universities is adding a 7 percent tuition increase to an 8 percent raise already ordered by the Legislature.

The board approved the raise Thursday during a meeting at the
University of South Florida. The extra revenue will help replace
reduced funding from the state.

For the 2011-2012 school year students will pay between $21.42
and $32 more per credit hour, depending on which school they
attend. The statewide undergraduate tuition and fees total an
average of $4,886 a year, about $2,700 less than the national
average.

The last time Florida did not raise tuition statewide was the
1995-96 school year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Jun 25, 2011 at 04:17 AM
    Anonymous, my two sons graduated with my wife's and my support at a much higher price than my tuition was. And keep in mind, the cost of tuition and books in both my time and theirs were made from the salaries of that time. There were grants and loans even then, and there are those we knew who took them. As a result a young married couple we know who both graduated from college and both used loans started off nose deep in debt from just those loans. We refused to let our children get into debt and both started their careers with no debt whatsoever. So don't tell me it's impossible. It all boils down to what the kids and parents are willing to do to make it happen. This day and time it is much easier to whimper you can't get an education because you can't get a loan or better, a grant, which comes from someone else's pocket as taxes or a donation, and use that as an excuse if you don't make it through college. One of my pet peeves was the fees added to tuition. Student activity fees provide funding for students' entertainment and is included in every students' "tuition" figures. And most who are serious students that are studying as they should be don't have the time to use them so they supplement the playing of those who do. Want to cut the cost of a college education? Make those fees optional.
  • by Michael Location: FSU on Jun 24, 2011 at 05:46 PM
    I'm a college student, and though I'm biased towards the students' plight, if these rate increases are going towards keeping tenured professors and increasing the quality of education, I can understand why they're being implemented. Still, increasing tuition while the legislature cuts education funding, with no additional grant/scholarship money added pushes the balance too far out of equilibrium, making it hard for low-income students (like myself) to get into (and finish) college.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 01:35 PM
    Ok, I'm not a professor, but I'm curious as to what people on here think a college professor at FSU or other state univeristy should get paid. I don't want stupid answers, but responses from people who think about the economics of the position, including median incomes for the region (family median about 62k), education required to be a professor (Ph.D. -- only 3% of the US population holds a Ph.D. or equivalent), career length (the average age for tenure is 39, so the average assistant professor starting age should be in the low 30s, compared to the low 20s for someone with a bachelor's degree), etc. Also, what about a salary range from, say, a field with lots of Ph.D.s and few positions (like history), or a science/tech/engineering field where there are high salaries offered in non-academic sectors?
  • by je on Jun 24, 2011 at 11:14 AM
    a young girl that works part time in the same place I do ,,,took her Pell grant and got her a car and took a vacation ....and laughs and tells everyone
  • by OddBall on Jun 24, 2011 at 06:03 AM
    Has anybody took the time to realizes that the last Governor of the State let the waste full spending go on and now when this new one get in he pull the credit cards and says operate with in your means. Some of these High School grads do not know what struggling to make ends mean. The High school grads should serve a mandatory 6 years in the Armed Forces, But if there is a medical reason then then have an alternatives in place. A college education is a privilege not a right. The Universities could make changes to the number of scholarships that is being used. but that is another disaster that needs to be reformed .
    • reply
      by Michael on Jun 24, 2011 at 05:50 PM in reply to OddBall
      You mean working hard through 13 years of public schooling means students should not have the choice to go to college? Glad people with your mindset are not in power. Oh wait...
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Jun 24, 2011 at 04:28 AM
    Horsefeathers! I put myself through college and my wife and I put our two sons through college without borrowing or receiving one dime from someone else. The problem is people don't want to work hard for four or perhaps more years to get something that they will have for the rest of their lives. Everyone has their hand out, thinking others should "help" them. What happened to American independence and shame at receiving something for nothing? Florida's schools are on the low end of tuition rates. Students, if you don't like the tuition there, go somewhere else and see how you like it. As to the person who commented tuition is the reason for uneducated people, our problem is uneducated coming out of the public school system and that is free to any student that will take advantage of it. We throw money at it and it only gets worse.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 07:17 AM in reply to Georgia Boy
      And how much did you pay for a full year of college? $400? $500? These days, even a single credit-hour costs more than that! Over the past two decades, college tuition has skyrocketed at dozens of times the speed of inflation. It's a lot harder for kids to put themselves through college than it was for us - and they have only us to blame for cutting university funding so steeply!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 08:32 AM in reply to
        It cost me $120K total to obtain my undergraduate degree. I am about to begin graduate school after a ten-year education hiatus. My graduate degree will cost roughly $50K.
        • reply
          by tom on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM in reply to
          Wow......you aren't a good with your money are you?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 01:10 PM in reply to Georgia Boy
      Look some people cant find a jhob right now in this economy..Im a college student right now and im unemployed but i've been looking for a job for the last year and a half even a fast food restraunts.But anyways without the Pell Grant i would be able to go to school not mentioning on top of that I also have 13,000 in students loans. It's not like it was in the old days when you went to school. Its not about giving people education anymore now it's all about making money and becoming richer now!!!
  • by Anonymous Location: jes on Jun 24, 2011 at 01:47 AM
    After the Koch bros bought and paid for part of FSU why should the tuition go up? I agree with the other commentor that eventually only wealthy children will be able to go to college. Even though florida colleges may be lower than the national average, the wages that parents make to send thier kids to school is lower also here. The dumbing down of america. We get dumber and the other countries get smarter.
  • by John Q public on Jun 23, 2011 at 07:39 PM
    Another one of the Republican partys way of cutting out the middle class!! only the rich can afford college!
    • reply
      by tom on Jun 24, 2011 at 05:46 AM in reply to John Q public
      The Democrats lower college admission standards and give everyone free money hot off the press who wants to go and get a degree in "The History of Ants in North America". Then the Democrats cave to the unions and over pay the employees and now the universities are full of over paid employees and too many students which means their tuition has to go up to cover increased expenses. The rates have to be raised and now you blame the Republicans!!!!!????? Thought So!
      • reply
        by Bubba on Jun 24, 2011 at 08:13 AM in reply to tom
        Republicons have showered money and protection on private schools and trade schools for years creating some of the most infamous diploma mills and funding pits in the country. Access to higher education is not the issue. The problem is the increased need for higher education to be economically viable in the information age. Hurry home now, I hear your baby mama calling.
        • reply
          by tom on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:13 PM in reply to Bubba
          Bubba, some of the best business men and most successful and richest people in this country never went to college. The ones who went to college work for the Federal Reserve and the White House and we know what they did to our economy. Seems we actually need to cut college educations and increase trade schools so we can manufacture our own wealth instead of importing it from Japan and China. Learn to speak Chinese soon Bubba.
        • reply
          by OddBall on Jun 24, 2011 at 01:33 PM in reply to Bubba
          Just being able to attend college is a Privilege not a right. The state need to take a look at the students that is in College to just fill a seat and bounce them out and ban them form reapplying.
      • reply
        by tom on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM in reply to tom
        Bubba found no fault in my last post so he changed the subject like the liberal he is. Never met a liberal named Bubba though.
  • by gary Location: usa on Jun 23, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    justpart of the plan. only the rich will be able to go to school and be sucesfull in life afterwhile. the rich getting rich and the poor getting poorer.
  • by SH88 Location: tally on Jun 23, 2011 at 05:04 PM
    And people wonder why there are so many uneducated people in the United States, most people can't afford college. The ones can't afford it (if they don't qualify for assistance or go get scholarships) take out loans that they will never been about to pay back. The education system is a primary reason for the status of our country.
    • reply
      by J on Jun 24, 2011 at 03:57 AM in reply to SH88
      right ,,and you know what group get those P- grants and never pay them back ,or get the money and use it for things other than education ..
      • reply
        by Straight Talk on Jun 24, 2011 at 07:09 AM in reply to J
        GRANTS don't have to be paid back, but I am very interested in what "people" get them? Please let us know.
        • reply
          by J on Jun 24, 2011 at 11:12 AM in reply to Straight Talk
          if I answer that on here WCTV would not post it ,,,but you can guess,,open your eyes
        • reply
          by wil on Jun 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM in reply to Straight Talk
          hey Straight Talk ,,,I can answer that one easy ,,,same ones that their mom got gov.asst. and free checks
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