UCF freshmen we talked to had no idea they’ll be paying thousands more for tuition by the time they graduate than they do for Summer B classes right now.
A few weeks ago, UCF leaders announced their plan to hike tuition 15 percent each year for the next seven years, bringing the average annual tuition bill from about $4,000 to $8,000 in just six years.
“My feelings can’t be expressed without curse words,” said freshmen Zack Zitron. “That is definitely not a good thing, because it’s going to eliminate the amount of students that can attend. It’s going to be more difficult to enter.”
And if you’re counting on Bright Futures scholarships to cover the new costs — don’t.
That’s because there’s a new type of tuition in town. It’s called “differential tuition,” and state lawmakers made sure Bright Futures can’t be used towards it, because the state can’t afford for the popular program to cover it. As of now, Bright Futures scholarships are only planned to cover the traditional tuition.
UCF officials lobbied for these tuition hikes at a time when lawmakers cut millions from the university budget as they scrambled to balance the entire state budget amid a national and state economic crisis. School leaders said the hikes are needed to maintain UCF’s educational standards.
But the higher tuition bills could cause students to take longer to graduate, because they’ll have to work while in school to cover the increasing costs.
“It’s scary — the amount of kids that go to college now a days, (with) the dropouts,” said freshman Noah Miller.
It already takes many students as long as six years to graduate. According to an American Enterprise Institute study, only slightly more than half of UCF students graduate within six years.
State and UCF leaders said the tuition hike is needed because the average price for tuition in Florida is among the cheapest in the nation, and Florida needs to catch up to maintain quality. But many students we talked to said they’d prefer to keep it the old way, especially with the recession hitting the Sunshine state.
“It’s going to suck for the people in ten years,” said freshman Birrany Mohamed. “I’m just going to take it as it is now, there’s nothing really you can do.”