Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed a bill that would allow UF and Florida State University to increase tuition by more than the 15 percent currently allowed.
The State Universities of Academic and Research Excellence and National Preeminence bill would have let Florida universities that meet certain criteria charge market rate tuition, allowing more independence from the rest of the State University System.
“This legislation presented the University of Florida with a pathway toward excellence and would have enabled the great State of Florida to have two world-class universities,” UF President Bernie Machen said in a statement released Friday. “While we are saddened with this development, we will continue to pursue excellence in education, research and service and renew our commitment to serving our students and the people of Florida.”
Machen, FSU President Eric Barron and members of both universities’ Boards of Trustees visited the Capitol earlier this month to lobby the governor to approve the bill. Machen and Barron said the ability to charge market rate tuition would allow the universities to continue performing world-class research.
Although the bill garnered much support from legislators and university officials, Scott ultimately stuck to his promise during the legislative session to not raise tuition at Florida universities.
In a statement released Friday, the Board of Governors, the highest governing body for the State University System, also expressed its regret at the governor’s veto.
“I am very disappointed that the governor vetoed a bill that enjoyed widespread support and would have elevated our university system to greater national prominence — something that would benefit all Floridians,” Chairman Dean Colson said. “Hopefully, someday soon, the State will decide to provide our universities with the tools they need to compete on a national stage.”