The Florida House of Representatives is pushing for a 6% increase in state university and college tuition rates in an effort to keep Florida at pace with other schools around the nation.
A Board of Governors meeting held Thursday at Florida A&M University included House Speaker Will Weatherford, who spoke to a panel that deals with the matter, saying that overall tuition rates for university students in Florida remain among the lowest in the country. He went on to tell the Florida News Capitol that the amount of money schools were asking for, $418 million, was more than the state had available, $360 million; and so, the 6% increase is meant to bridge the gap.
Both the House and Senate have plans to restore $300 million removed from budgets this past year but, despite opposition from Gov. Rick Scott, the house is still pursuing the hike.
“This is a tax, it’s a tax on students, it’s a tax on families,” Scott told reporters earlier this week.
Universities and colleges, like UCF, are still able to raise tuition themselves. Just this past year, UCF’s Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition the maximum amount allowed by law, 15%. The increase is subject, however, to approval by the Board of Governors.
Florida charges undergraduate students an average in-state rate of $6,232 a year, AP reports. That ranks the state about 41st in the nation, according to data compiled by the State University System of Florida.
The tuition proposal is expected to be part of the budget documents House appropriations subcommittees will release later this week.