Preemption 2013

To improve the quality of education in Florida, tuition at two Florida universities may have to go up, way up. The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education Reform is drafting a plan to give UF and FSU control over tuition increases.

FSU President Dr. Eric Barron says having more control over tuition will help the school attract top professors and researchers. “I think it’s not a matter of tuition. It’s a matter of do you have the appropriate amount of revenues to support students.”

Barron made the same argument last year, but it wasn’t enough to win over the governor.

The bill was just a signature away from becoming law last year, but Governor Rick Scott vetoed it. “What is going to be the best for students in our state? What’s going to prepare them in the best manner to make sure they can get a job?” said the governor in April.

Scott wants to keep costs down, a messages echoed by students like Taylor Crosby at FSU. “I don’t think any school should have that type of authority; for education to get harder and harder to pay for while the economy is where it is right now, that’s not fair to students”

The plan has bi-partisan support. House Democrat Alan Williams voted for the legislation, Scott later vetoed. Williams says lifting the tuition cap is good as long students see an increase in financial aid and scholarships. “We need to make sure that we increase the number of scholarships given to those need based students to make sure that we are provide access to some of these premier institutions here in our state.”

The recommendations are still being drafted by the Blue Ribbon Task Force. They will be voted on next Tuesday.

Task Force members may also call for a performance study to support lifting the cap. They want to know how UF and FSU graduates are performing in the workforce. The study is seen as a way to change the governor’s mind on giving the universities tuition authority.

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