After approving a $300 million cut to Florida's public universities in earlier April, thus cutting public higher education state funding for the fifth year in a row, Governor Rick Scott vetoed legislation late last week that would allow the University of Florida and Florida State University to raise tuition.
Despite an annual limit cap of 15 percent, tuition in Florida's public univerisites increased 60 percent during academic years 2009 to 2012. The bill Scott vetoed Friday would have removed the preexisting limit on tuition hikes, allowing both the University of Florida and Florida State University to raise costs at a higher rate.
While moving forward on budget cuts to the state's universities, Scott has insisted he "does not believe in tuition hikes."
"It is also clear how difficult it is for our students, and in many cases, their families, to afford the costs of higher education," Scott said in a statement accompanying his veto Friday. "I have strong concerns for the debt burden on our students and the number of graduates struggling to find jobs within their fields of study."
Each public institution's board of trustees decides how much to increase tuition each year, with the state's Board of Governors having the final say. Florida's universities lobbied to remove that 15 percent cap. Upon Scott's veto, representatives for UF and FSU said they were "saddened."
Florida is not alone in limiting how state universities may increase tuition while cutting funding at the same time.
Some states limit tuition increases to inflation, while others set a capped rate that public universities must abide by.
Here are five other examples of states trying to limit tuition increases:
The University of North Carolina system is limited to 6.5 percent. However, the UNC system in the state sustained a $682.2 million budget cut in 2011. Photo Credit: HangingCurve
Texas passed a non-binding resolution in 2009 challenging the public universities not to increase tuition beyond 3.95 percent. Even without it being a legal requirement, the state's public universities have tried to adhere to the rule as the "will of the legislature." Photo Credit: Shane Torgerson
Missouri's public colleges are limited to tuition increases corresponding to the Consumer Price Index. Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a $106 million cut to public colleges and universities this year. The legislature rejected Nixon's proposal, however, and opted to keep higher ed funding flat-lined for next year. Photo Credit: Yassie
It never became law, but in 2011 and 2012, the Iowa House advanced bills to limit tuition increases while simultaneously voting to cut funding. Photo Credit: Madmaxmarchhare
Ohio's public universities lobbied for the state to remove limits on tuition hikes, but they have little to show for it. The state colleges continued to increase tuition for the 2012-13 year by 3.5 percent at Miami University, Ohio University, Kent State University and the University of Cincinnati. Why 3.5 percent? Because that's what the state limits on tuition hikes. However, Gov. John Kasich only proposed cutting state support for higher ed by less than 3 percent. Photo Credit: Ed!
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