Give the schools $118 million and tuition won’t be raised. That is the offer laid out by Florida’s university presidents.

University presidents and student leaders from Florida met Wednesday morning to propose what they called Aim Higher Florida, a plan that requests $118 million in new funding from Florida to be split among 11 universities and in turn, tuition would not be raised at all, at any school.

Among those who spoke at the conference were UCF SGA President Cortez Whatley, University of Florida President Bernie Machen, University of West Florida President Judy Bense and University of North Florida President John A. Delaney. Each requested the state support an investment into higher education as well as making university funding a priority. President Hitt of UCF did not speak at the press conference.

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“Our universities are heavily invested in our communities and our state,” University of Florida President Bernie Machen said. “We are leading job creators and innovators, and we are the key to our state meeting industry demands for highly qualified employees. An investment in Florida’s public universities is an investment our state’s economic future.”

The $118 million number is equal to the amount of money the universities would receive if they increased tuition by the maximum 15 percent allowable by state law.

Florida Governor Rick Scott applauded university leaders in their commitment to holding the line on tuition and making college more affordable for Florida families.

“We know Florida families want the best value possible from our higher education system, which means we have to make advanced degrees more affordable and more connected to students’ ability to get a great job when they graduate,” Scott said. “We are pleased to share this important goal with many of Florida’s finest higher education leaders who are committed to holding the line on tuition. We look forward to working closely with them as we put together a proposed budget and other policies for the upcoming legislative session.”

Although Cortez Whatley voted to raise tuition the maximum amount this past school year, he is now echoing the student voice in requesting that tuition hikes be halted.

“For the sake of Florida’s students, businesses and the communities that we live in, we need to keep a college education affordable and accessible to all,” Whatley said.



Video courtesy The Florida Channel

To view Gov. Rick Scott’s full press release, click next page.

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