House looks to boost university tuition — againby John Kennedy | January 24th, 2012
Florida university students could face another round of 15 percent tuition hikes next fall, under a spending plan unveiled Tuesday by the House Higher Education budget committee.
Gov. Rick Scott, who has been pushing schools to expand their science, technology, education and mathematics programs, saying STEM degrees are what employers are seeking. But Scott, who has questioned the spending practices at state universities, notably didn’t call for a tuition increase in his $66.4 billion state budget proposal, released last month.
Committee Chair Marlene O’Toole, R-Lady Lake, acknowledged that the proposed tuition hike will prove controversial — and may face open opposition from Scott. But with state support for universities slashed by 6.2 percent — following a pattern that has seen public funding reduced 17 percent between 2007 and 2010 — tuition’s role has grown.
Since Florida universities were authorized to boost tuition by as much as 15 percent, beginning in 2007, the cost for students and their families has climbed 60 percent. O’Toole pointed out, however, that Florida’s average $5,626 annual tuition is still among the lowest in the nation.
Colleges could increase their tuition by 8 percent next year, under the House proposal.