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Monday, June 24, 2024
<p style="margin: 0px; font: 12px Helvetica;">Eric Barron,</p>
<p>president of Florida State University, and UF President Bernie</p>
<p>Machen speak before the higher education committee of the Florida</p>
<p>House of Representatives on Friday morning.&nbsp;</p>

Eric Barron,

president of Florida State University, and UF President Bernie

Machen speak before the higher education committee of the Florida

House of Representatives on Friday morning. 

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida House of Representatives' higher education committee listened Friday morning to UF President Bernie Machen's ideas on how to improve higher education in the state.

A major theme of the conversation, and one of Machen's foremost concerns, was continuing to increase the proportion of students who graduate in four years.

The four-year graduation rate at UF is now 63 percent, an increase of 5 percentage points in the last year alone, Machen said.

Still, he said, there is room for improvement.

He and Rep. Bill Proctor, chair of the higher education committee, talked about the possibility of giving specific financial aid to students who pursue STEM degrees, which are basically math- and science-based degrees.

As it stands now, the Bright Futures Scholarship places few restrictions on the time in which students must use the scholarship money, and it places no restrictions on which courses they can pay off with Bright Futures funding.

"We fund strictly one thing: input," Chancellor Frank Brogan said.

For that reason, he said, the state university system needs to look seriously at accountability-based funding.

Last year, Machen asked for a 30 percent tuition increase to balance budget shortfalls.

Although tuition hikes weren't discussed in the committee meeting, Machen said he would definitely bring it to the Board of Governors, the university's highest governing body, in the spring.

"There's no question that our tuition is too low and our financial need is too high," he said.

 

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Eric Barron, president of Florida State University, and UF President Bernie Machen speak before the higher education committee of the Florida House of Representatives on Friday morning. 

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