By: Whitney Ray
Governor Rick Scott and college students are winning the battle against tuition hikes. Today Scott signed a bill to give research universities more funding, without charging students more money. The House is still asking students to pay more, but As Whitney Ray tells us, the proposed tuition increase is shrinking.
What a difference a year makes. Last April, Governor Rick Scott was surrounded by university presidents pushing a bill to give some of them unbridled tuition authority.
Despite all the persuasive arguments for the preeminence bill, Scott stood his ground. He vetoed the bill to keep cost low for students
“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,” Scott said in an interview with reporters in April 2012.
Monday, surrounded by university presidents once again, Scott signed similar legislation. This time, the tuition increase was left out of the preeminence bill replaced by 15 million dollars for top Florida universities.
“Last year the preeminence bill was focused on a tuition increase and the governor felt that tuition increase was a burden for families in an economy that was recovering,” said FSU President Eric Barron.
The bill signing signals a partial victory for college students. There is still a chance the state legislature votes to raise tuition. The governor still opposes any tuition increases, but the legislature must act first.
“I’ve got my priorities, they have their priorities. I believe we are going to have a great session,” Scott said Monday.
The House was pushing for a six percent increase. The ask was lowered to four.
“As I understand it the House still wants a tuition increase, the senate does not, the governor does not. I’m not taking a bet on that game. The universities are pretty much just staying out of it,” said UF President Bernie Machen.
Before the 2013 legislative session began, university presidents united under a no tuition increase banner. The one condition, the state legislature increase funding.
The budget negotiations between the House and Senate continue. Both chambers have agreed to restore the 300 million dollars cut from universities last year. They’ve yet to make a deal on the additional 100 million the schools are seeking.