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After a Decade, Higher University Tuition is on the Table

December 1st, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

It’s been more than seven years since Florida Universities raised tuition. And this year lawmakers face a pandemic induced 2 point 7 billion decline in revenue, which, as Mike Vasilinda tells us, has lawmakers putting tuition hikes back on the table.

At six thousand three hundred and seventy dollars a year, University tuition in Florida, before fees,  is the second in lowest in the nation. Only Wyoming charges less. 

“And so our product by any scale comparable is a fraction, in most cases, of other states, and its something we’ll have to look at” says newly sworn in Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Pasco County).

Flordia lawmakers face the toughest budget balancing act they’ve seen in a decade. Senate President Simpson is an advocate for foster kids, and says lawmakers will have to make difficult choices.

“When you start putting priorities together, I’m going to have a higher priority to make sure we’re taking care of those must vulnerable children, and and we haven’t raised tuition in ten years” says Simpson.

 

When he was governor, Rick Scott refused to reappoint university trustees who had voted for fee hikes. Now as US Senator, he’s weighing in again.

In a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, Scott says he will soon file federal legislation penalizing states that hike tuition.

Under his proposal, Scott says “All federal funding will be cut off if tuition or fees are increased.”

At he other end of the legislature, House Speaker Chris Sprowls says not all degrees should cost the same.

“If they can get on line and engage in higher in higher education as a way to help them find a job, then lets make that as easy as possible for them” says Sprowls (R-Clearwater).

In the end, any tuition hike would have to get the okay from the governor, and Ron DeSantis has said in the past:

”I don’t want to tax anyone more.”

But that was before the pandemic.

So far, United Faculty of Florida, the union representing professors hasn’t taken a position on supporting a tuition hike. 

 

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