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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Between shrinking budgets and growing costs, it seems every family, business and state is trying to make ends meet. The same holds true at UF.

The cost of educating 50,000 of the state's best students has grown at a rate that is quickly outpacing available funding. For years, state legislators and university officials have searched for policies that would effectively resolve the problem. Enter differential tuition.

In June, Gov. Charlie Crist approved legislation that would grant three of Florida's public universities - UF, Florida State University and the University of South Florida - the ability to charge higher tuition to cover disproportionately high costs. The measure was heavily lobbied for by affected parties across the state, including Student Government's lobbyists.

With the legislation now in effect, UF will have a little extra money in the fall for programs that need new equipment and prestigious faculty. As the arbiters of student interests, the university administration is working hand in hand with SG officials to ensure this funding is used in a way that directly benefits student interests. That's where you come in.

On Tuesday at the Student Senate's regular meeting in Room 282 of the Reitz Union at 7:30 p.m., I will host presentations from Marie Zeglen, assistant provost and director of Institutional Planning and Research, and Albert Matheny, associate dean of Academic Advising, on the differential tuition program. Following the presentations, I will moderate an open question-and-answer forum. We want to hear from you before making final recommendations on how millions of your dollars will be spent.

Come out Tuesday night, hear what the university has to say about differential tuition and make your voice heard. Your attendance will show the administration you care about how your tuition dollars are spent. We want a student body educated by the best faculty with the best equipment, and this program is a step in that direction.

If you have questions and cannot attend, I welcome you to send your questions to me at weissj@ufl.edu.

The university administration and SG are making it a point to hear student input before finalizing their plans. Tuesday night's forum is being held for you. Come to Senate and tell us what you think. After all, it's your money.

Josh Weiss, a former Student Senate president, is a senior majoring in philosophy and political science.

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