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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Board of Governors approves tuition, fee increases

After accepting a few losses during this year’s legislative session, UF is getting some approval at a critical time for the university.

The Board of Governors approved both a 9 percent tuition increase and a $2 per credit hour increase in UF’s Capital Improvement Trust Fund fee during its regular meeting Thursday.

Although UF has raised tuition by the state maximum of 15 percent for the last five years, UF President Bernie Machen announced to UF’s Board of Trustees earlier this month he would seek only a 9 percent increase this year to give financially struggling students a break.

Machen previously said a 15 percent increase would be necessary to help balance a $38.2 million budget cut dealt by the state.

During the legislative session, Machen and Florida State University President Eric Barron lobbied Gov. Rick Scott to approve a bill that would have allowed UF and FSU to increase tuition by more than 15 percent.

Despite support from both universities’ Boards of Trustees and some members of the Board of Governors, the State University System’s highest governing body, Scott vetoed the bill.

All 11 Florida public universities requested increases in differential tuition, which is an increase in base tuition set by the state according to the needs of each university.

At 9 percent, UF had the lowest request. Most other universities requested the maximum of 15 percent.

The board was divided on the issue.

“Today is about a family that has been going through a recession, and we have continuously been beating on them,” said Governor Mori Hosseini, who advocated for moderate tuition increases in the face of a sluggish economy.

“I think our family needs a break,” he said.

Governor John Temple, however, said Florida students don’t work hard enough and don’t need a break.

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“I feel that there’s an entitlement mentality in the state of Florida,” he said, referring to families that can send their children to college but still use the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. “I think our focus is wrong.”

The board also approved the $2 per credit hour increase to the CITF fee for the expansion and renovation of the Reitz Union.

The fee, which hasn’t been raised in 30 years, will increase from $4.76 to $6.76 per credit hour for UF undergraduates.

University of Central Florida Student Body President and Board of Governors member Cortez Whatley said he saw no hesitation from student body presidents of other schools requesting an increase to their CITF fees, and they agreed the fee is something students want.

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