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.”

(5) comments


I normally don't mind Rick Scott, but this was an absolutely awful decision on his part.


Terrible decision on Scott's part.


I understand that the Universities would like to find a way to pay for both faculty and activities, and they were hoping to accomplish this goal through a hike in student tuition. Rick Scott did not deny the universities from raising tuition by the allowable 15%, he prevented them from raising it in excess of that amount. Research is important and valuable, but perhaps the university could begin selecting which research projects will truly add value to the university. Some schools have approved research grants to study the the manner in which a fly reproduces while on the ceiling. Research "discoveries" such as these do not improve the university, nor the state's, prestige. Families have been forced to prioritize their needs and desires within this economy. Why should the universities be exempt. The solution is not to burden the youth by increasing the cost of education. Most persons within the education field, spout the belief that the youth and their education are the way of the future. Yet, majority of the faculty supported the bill which would increase tuition by over 15%, effectively reducing the opportunity for the youth to gain an education without taking out excessive loans. In today's economy, there are many students who are graduating with few job opportunities and starting wages are low; and this will prevent the ability to pay back these loans. Already the Federal government has changed the student loan program for graduate loans. Previously interest on a subsidized Stafford loan did not accumulate until after graduation, but now, the interest begins to accrue immediately. Already placing more of a burden on the student population. So, let's all prioritize both government, private entities, and family members.


I had a very arrogant chemistry professor who publicly lamented and expressed his disdain for undergraduates and having to teach them. He wasn't a particularly good teacher in spite of his huge ego, and he always talked about 'working on his book.' To this day, 8? years later, I can find no evidence of any book he has authored.

Keep in mind that as students are paying more for tuition, they may be paying for professors who feel that teaching is beneath their calling as researchers, and this may be reflected in the effort they put into their lectures, tests, etc.

I agree that it is a question of priorities. As a Floridian, I think education should be the first priority and research should take a back seat, although obviously it is still important. I realize that those who are driven to raise the prestige of UF at any price would disagree. I do not subscribe to the philosophy that UF is not good enough and everyone must dump more money into it to make it better. It is good enough, or at least not far from that point. The focus and energy of the administration should not have this constant distraction of figuring out more ways to spend more money to make UF look better. The efforts to raise UF's prestige have failed by all objective measures, if one looks at UF's rankings throughout Pres. Machen's reign. The efforts of the administration should be to focus on UF, not how everyone else looks compared to UF, and to make UF the best it can be with the funding it has. I have no doubt that Gov. Scott will veto the proposed $75 million renovation to the Reitz Union, and frankly I can't believe that money was spent to even design and submit the plans for such a ridiculous expense. If I were the governor, I would question the competency of anyone who would consider such a plan to be viable and worthy of his consideration. For the record, I am not a big fan of the gov. and actually voted for his opponent.

If Machen's contract is done in 2013, why aren't we looking for the next President already? It seems to always take about a year or longer. Let's get on with it. Finding someone with a track record of not requiring constant increases in budgets unrivaled only by Big Pharma should be a priority.


I agree with Scott on this one, UF needs to cut its research budget instead of asking for more money.

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