Well, well, well. It seems Gov. Charlie Crist has finally come around to our side. Not willingly, of course. That would be crazy talk.
But this is the second time in recent months that Charlie has changed his mind on matters of college tuition. The first was when he decided to permit the Tuition Differential Program to be put into place, and now he has decided to allow a 5-percent tuition increase, which will go into effect Jan. 1.
He's almost ready to join the ranks of flip-floppers such as Sen. John Kerry and former Gov. Mitt Romney. Could a presidential run be in the works for Charlie, too?
We wish we could say Crist decided to change his stance because he realized how much Florida's colleges need the money. Unfortunately, the tuition increase came about because of the drastic budget cuts affecting our universities. And next year's budget isn't looking so good either. So now, instead of the state paying for its public colleges and universities, students get to foot the bill. It hasn't been decided if Bright Futures will cover the increase.
Now, students at UF and Florida's other public universities will have to pay about ,55 more per semester each. Community college students will pay about ,30 more per semester.
Florida still has the lowest university tuition in the nation. It's going to take more than a 5-percent increase to bring us up to a nationally competitive level.
Crist keeps saying how important Florida's universities are - hell, he even took time out of his busy bill-signing schedule to introduce the Florida State University Seminoles' starting lineup for Saturday's game. Now he needs to back it up. Crist, start leaving your flip-flops by your tanning bed, and keep them out of the office.