by Pat Raia
With a $2.7 billion shortfall in the Florida budget looming, state lawmakers are mulling an increase in the cost of in-state tuition in the state's University System. Currently, the cost of in-state university tuition is about $6,360 or about $2,800 per semester before fees.
“The cost of tuition in Florida has not risen in the past 10 years, we have the best university system in the country for the last four years in a row and we have a budget crisis,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson said. “Our product by any scale comparable is a fraction in most cases of other states and it's something we have to look at.”
No one from the United Faculty of Florida, the union representing professors, was available to comment on the possible tuition hike.
The possibility of a tuition hike comes shortly after US Senator Rick Scott told the Heritage Foundation that he would introduce federal legislation that would penalize states that voted to increase the cost of higher education. During his tenure as Governor, US Sen. Rick Scott declined to increase University System tuition costs.
“If a college or university raises tuition or fees, they will be automatically cut off from all federal funding, including federally-guaranteed loan programs,” Scott told the group.
Lawmakers are expected to take up a possible tuition increase sometime during the next session of the Legislature.