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Sunday, April 21, 2024

The 15 new faculty positions announced by UF President Bernie Machen on Thursday will not affect the hiring of the professors and academic advisers promised by the Tuition Differential Program, said a UF official Sunday.

UF Provost Janie Fouke said administrators cannot begin the search for applicants because UF doesn?t know the exact amount of money that will come from the program.

UF spokesman Steve Orlando said UF would eventually hire 200 faculty members and 100 advisers over the duration of the program.

"That was our goal initially - to hire more faculty and advisers so students could get a better overall experience," Orlando said.

The Tuition Differential Program will allow UF to incrementally raise tuition up to 40 percent over four years, so long as it does not exceed 15 percent, a little more than ,500, per year.

The 15 new hires would fill positions for high-demand courses, such as chemistry, botany, physiology and English, Orlando said.

Fouke said after UF analyzes how much money the program will bring in, professors will be hired for the courses with the worst teacher to student ratios.

UF has just recently begun looking at those demands, she said, and it could take six months to a year to fill the positions.

Though Fouke said the promise of more money from the Tuition Differential Program is exciting, it won?t solve all UF?s problems.

She said the program would only replace about half of what UF had to cut from its budget this year.

The Cost Reduction Efficiency Task Force proposed a budget reduction of ,30 million to ,34 million. Fouke said the Tuition Differential Program would probably only bring in about ,17 million.

"We?re not getting ahead here," she said with a laugh. "If we were a high-tuition school, percent would be a way to talk about it. We?re talking about tiny numbers in terms of dollars."

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In terms of tuition costs, Florida is at the bottom, Fouke said, and that affects the quality of education.

UF ranked as having the lowest in-state tuition on USA Today?s 2006 College and Tuition Fees Survey.

She said she wants to make sure people realize UF isn?t simply adding 200 new professors. It?s only replacing some who have left or have been cut.

Fouke said the increase is a step in the right direction.

"I don?t want anyone to think we?re not grateful for the Tuition Differential Program," she said. "It begins to recognize that UF is playing in a different league."

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