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UF trustees pass budget with lower tuition hike

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Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:08 am | Updated: 1:55 am, Tue Jun 12, 2012.

After a year of campaigning to raise UF tuition to the market rate, President Bernie Machen decided to lower the tuition increase request for the upcoming year from 15 percent to 9 percent.

The state set a 15 percent increase cap, which UF has requested and received for the past several years.

During this year’s legislative session, Machen and FSU President Eric Barron lobbied Gov. Rick Scott to approve a bill that would have allowed both universities to raise tuition to the market rate.

Scott vetoed the bill in April.

Machen said in his address to UF’s Board of Trustees on Friday that he understands these are difficult times.

He said he is ready to pause on the notion of using tuition increases to help balance the $38.2 million in budget cuts dealt to UF by the legislature this year.

With the change, Machen said he will have to find another $5 million from additional resources, which he did not name.

The trustees approved the university’s proposed budget and tuition increase during their meeting.

Student Body President Tj Villamil said he was pleased that Machen listened to the student voice. At a meeting Thursday, he voted against a 15 percent increase, citing concerns for students who didn’t qualify for enough need-based financial aid and couldn’t afford a 15 percent tuition hike.

He said Friday that he thought the 9 percent increase was a perfect compromise.

“We have to meet in the middle,” Villamil said.

A student carrying 30 credit hours would have had to pay an additional $608.70 with the 15 percent increase. But at the meeting on Friday, Machen said the 9 percent increase would cost about $365.

He said UF can still be a leader in higher education and understand the tough times people are facing.

“I think it will be good for us to do this,” he said.

Machen, who took office in 2004, also announced that he plans to step down and will help the board search for his replacement. His contract ends Dec. 31, 2013.

In December, the board extended his contract by one year without a salary raise.

A search committee, consisting of trustees, stakeholders, students and alumni, will be formed around July to find the next president.

Alligator staff writers Erin Jester and Clare Lennon contributed to this report.

Contact Samantha Shavell at [email protected].

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