Should college students who major in more expensive subjects like chemistry, engineering and technological fields pay higher tuition? It’s a question being asked of lawmakers by leading state university administrators. The idea is being considered as a way to help fund state schools losing public money.
STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, is the focus of the state’s plan to improve education and the workforce. The governor and business leaders want more students to pursue STEM degrees, but paying for those degrees may soon cost more.
FSU’s President Eric Barron has been telling lawmakers, charging STEM students more could raise money and the quality of higher education. “I think this is a good market based argument without a cost to the state.”
UF’s President is echoing Barron’s sentiments. Rep. Bill Proctor of St Augustine says the House Education Committee is taking heed. “We’re not the only state going after STEM. There is going to be competition for people capable of teaching it, for graduate students participating in it.”
Under the plan science and engineering degrees would cost more than English and history degrees, mainly because the equipment is more expensive and hiring the top professors in those fields costs more.
We caught up with students at a Martin Luther King rally at the state capitol Monday. They say raising the cost of those courses would discourage students from pursuing those degrees in Florida. Bryon Morrison is a FAMU Senior. “I think that really we should be rewarding people entering those types of professions because they have been dominated by non-Americans.”
The degree based tuition plan comes after four straight years of double digit tuition increases and a 17 percent drop in state funding for public universities.”
This week presidents of the remaining nine state universities will testify before house and senate committees about ways to improve higher education in Florida.