Preeminence Promise, Give Us Authority, We Won’t Us It

A promise from Florida’s public universities not to raise tuition next year is being received well by students.

“It’s a bold move and I hope that we can achieve it,” said FSU Junior Logan Opsahl.

The promise comes with the caveat that lawmakers increase university funding by 118 million dollars.

“We as a public university system kind of live and die by what the lawmakers do and hopefully they can get sort of a reality check and understand that they are a product of a public education system,” said Opsahl.

The announcement comes as FSU and UF continue to pursue a bill that would allow the two schools to raise tuition above the 15% annual cap.

The plan would set FSU and UF apart as Florida’s top research institutions. Besides tuition authority the schools would also be held to higher standards and have loftier goals. Both school presidents say if the bill passes next year they’ll set standards, but won’t raise tuition.

“We need those metrics. We need to help universities be successful. All of us are saying even with that set up lets not increase tuition,” said Dr. Eric Barron with FSU.

State lawmakers call it a tough sell, vowing NOT to raise tuition while asking for unbridled tuition authority.

“I think it would be very difficult to do that because the whole basis of those universities moving forward with the plan is a significant increase in tuition. Now if they can do that it’s wonderful, but I think it’s a tough, tough haul for them,” said Senate Bill Monford.

Lawmakers passed a bill last year that would have given the schools control over their own tuition rates, but Governor Rick Scott vetoed it.

Governor Scott is also opposing all tuition increases this year, but state lawmakers aren’t ready to take the option off the table.

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