While the University of Central Florida says it’s not opposing a proposal to give Florida universities the power to charge students for classes they’re not taking, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink had this suggestion for the state agency expected to push it through — step back.

Sink’s comments came after KnightNews.com’s chief investigative reporter, Logan Herlihy, caught up with the Chief Financial Officer following a meeting to discuss her plan to restore Florida’s economy with Orlando’s business and economic leaders Tuesday morning.

“Right now a lot of students only have time to take 12 credit hours because they’re working to pay their rising tuition bills,” Herlihy told Sink. “Next month, the Board of Governors could vote to give universities the power to charge students for classes they’re not even taking. Is that the right thing to do — especially when Florida’s unemployment rate is among the worst in the nation?”

Sink immediately sympathized with the challenge many students face while they put themselves through school after their parents suffered from a layoff or reduction in income.

“We’re always in a time when students have to work their way through college,” Sink said. “And if 12 hours is what they can manage because they’ve got to hold down a job so they can afford to go to college, I think the Board of Governors ought to step back and take another look at their policy.”

Last month, KnightNews.com reported how a UCF spokesman said the state’s largest university had no immediate plans to adopt block tuition.

“UCF has no plans to adopt block tuition at this time, should the proposal be approved by the Board of Governors,” UCF spokesman Grant Heston said. “We do not oppose the proposal, as it offers universities the option of using block tuition. Each institution is free to make its own decision on how best to proceed.”

Supporters say the plan will encourage students to graduate on time, while critics say it’s just another unfair tuition hike being forced on the large portion of students who take 12 hours while working jobs part-time. The small percentage of students that take 18 credit hours would get a price break, because they’d only have to pay for 15.

A decision may be made as early as November when the Board of Governors meets at the University of Florida. UF released a statement saying they’d be the pilot program for the block tuition plan and it would increase access to higher education by motivating students to graduate quicker and make room for new students.

Knightnews.com will follow this story, check for updates.