by Brittany Benner, Capital Bureau
TALLAHASSEE, FL -- College tuition could go up as much as 15% each year, if Florida's Legislature adopts Governor Charlie Crist's newly-proposed separation of higher-education powers.
If adopted, each state university's Board of Trustees will have the power to raise tuition up to 15% each year. Prepaid contracts made prior to July 2007 would be exempt from this differential tuition. Bright Futures would not cover the differential but would cover the base tuition increases.
In extreme cases, that could mean seniors will have to pay 45% more for tuition than they paid their freshmen year. It could also mean universities can lower tuition for certain programs. Administrators say it gives them flexibility to adjust rates according to individual programs and not on a state-mandated basis.
Florida's Board of Governors would oversee the approval of that tuition increase.
"It focuses on the authority of the various branches of government, it allows the local universities--with the approval of the state board--to set market-based tuition, and it requires a set of metrics to track the improvement and use of the resources that will be provided to the system," said John Delaney, President of the University of North Florida.
Although students may be forced to fork out more dough, higher education officials expect to be able to offer more tuition assistance and grants for lower and lower-middle class students. Additionally, they hope to improve the quality of teachers and classroom experiences for students statewide.
"Revenue is going to pump millions of dollars into the universities, it will enable us to hire new faculty, offer more courses, and provide more scholarships for need-based students," said Delaney.
Governor Charlie Crist hopes this tuition reform plan will allow universities across the state to mold the type of education they want to offer.
"They are for the first time, in a very long time, gonna have a great opportunity to get an even better education from the state of Florida than they've had in the past," said Crist.
This plan requires legislature approval. If adopted, authorities would have the power to take respective actions--including adjusting tuition--as early as next fall.
First Coast News