In 2007, in-state tuition and fees at public universities around the country ranged from a high of $12,164 a year at Penn State to a low of $3,206 at the University of Florida. You read that correctly; Florida had the lowest in-state tuition in the country. The national average for tuition and fees was $5,838.
That’s why the Florida Legislature gave schools like UF, FSU, USF and UCF the ability to increase tuition up to 15% a year until they reached the national average.
The Governor signed the legislation after research at each of the four universities showed even students overwhelmingly supported the increases. The students went so far as to caravan to Tallahassee to lobby for the higher tuition.
Why would students encourage higher tuition? Good question, but Florida students aren’t stupid. They recognized that a Wal-Mart-quality Education (aka … Cheap) would not help them get jobs following graduation. And at $3,206 a year, that is where higher ed in Florida was heading.
Today that average tuition and fees in Florida is $6,336. The national average is $8,893. So tuition in Florida is still $2,557 — or 28% — below the national average. And Florida still only has one public university in the Top 50.
Apparently the current Florida Governor believes a Wal-Mart-quality education is what students in Florida deserve. He fails to look at the past and he certainly fails to look to the future.
And misleading the public — which his campaign is doing with the current tuition ads on television — is certainly not the kind of leadership we need in Florida. We need an open and honest discussion of the issues.
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