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Saturday, December 04, 2021

UF’s Board of Trustees agree on a 9 percent tuition increase

UF is finally getting what it asked for.

After an hour of haggling, storytelling and sidestepping on the last day of its meeting, the Board of Governors approved a 9 percent differential tuition increase for UF.

A frustrated Gov. Tico Perez tried to keep the debate on track.

As a former Student Body president, Perez knows tuition increases are a necessary evil.

“Fifteen years ago, [University of Central Florida] was known as ‘U Can’t Finish,’ because you couldn’t get your classes,” he said.

He argued that “modest” tuition increases could alleviate that problem and help students graduate on time.

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 struggling students a break.

Machen previously said a 15 percent increase was 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 it.

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.

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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 Gov. Mori Hosseini, who advocated for moderate tuition increases in the face of a sluggish economy.

Gov. John Temple, however, was of the opinion that Florida students don’t work hard enough and don’t need that break.

“I feel that there’s an entitlement mentality in the state of Florida,” he said, referring to families that have the means to pay for college but still take Florida Bright Futures Scholarships. “I think our focus is wrong.”

The board also approved the $2 per credit hour increase to the Capital Improvement Trust Fund 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.

UCF 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.

The money from the fee goes directly into campus construction projects that benefit students, and Whatley said the fee is something students want.

Still, a few board members pushed back.

Gov. Matt Carter maintained that raising any fees would put unnecessary strain on students, particularly those who have families to support.

“Now is not the time,” he said.

All of the universities’ CITF funds passed in a block, 11 to four.

“I don’t think this one is that controversial,” Perez said just before the vote. “We’re talking about $2 per credit hour.”

Contact Erin Jester at ejester@alligator.org.

UF’s Board of Trustees agree on a 9 percent tuition increase

IT ALSO INCREASED A FEE FOR CAMPUS BUILDING PROJECTS.

 

ERIN JESTER

Alligator Staff Writer

 

UF is finally getting what it asked for.

After an hour of haggling, storytelling and sidestepping on the last day of its meeting, the Board of Governors approved a 9 percent differential tuition increase for UF.

A frustrated Gov. Tico Perez tried to keep the debate on track.

As a former Student Body president, Perez knows tuition increases are a necessary evil.

"Fifteen years ago, [University of Central Florida] was known as ‘U Can’t Finish,’ because you couldn’t get your classes," he said.

He argued that "modest" tuition increases could alleviate that problem and help students graduate on time.

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 struggling students a break.

Machen previously said a 15 percent increase was 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 it.

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 Gov. Mori Hosseini, who advocated for moderate tuition increases in the face of a sluggish economy.

Gov. John Temple, however, was of the opinion that Florida students don’t work hard enough and don’t need that break.

"I feel that there’s an entitlement mentality in the state of Florida," he said, referring to families that have the means to pay for college but still take Florida Bright Futures Scholarships. "I think our focus is wrong."

The board also approved the $2 per credit hour increase to the Capital Improvement Trust Fund 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.

UCF 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.

The money from the fee goes directly into campus construction projects that benefit students, and Whatley said the fee is something students want.

Still, a few board members pushed back.

Gov. Matt Carter maintained that raising any fees would put unnecessary strain on students, particularly those who have families to support.

"Now is not the time," he said.

All of the universities’ CITF funds passed in a block, 11 to four.

"I don’t think this one is that controversial," Perez said just before the vote. "We’re talking about $2 per credit hour."

Contact Erin Jester at ejester@alligator.org

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