Gov. Ron DeSantis backed UF’s Jacksonville graduate center at a press conference Tuesday. Along with verbal support from the governor, the state increased the proposed funding for the campus by $25 million.
DeSantis believes the graduate campus will generate jobs and keep university alumni in Florida.
Originally, the budget for the campus was to come from a $50 million investment from the Jacksonville City Council and $50 million in private funding, according to a UF News press release.
In March, Jacksonville City Council approved $20 million in funds for the campus, with the next step being getting funds from Tallahassee. The center’s proposed funding amount rose to $75 million after talks for the state 2023-2024 budget between Florida lawmakers,.
Florida lawmakers will vote to approve the proposed budget this week.
The graduate center is meant to provide new education programs aimed at supporting the region’s growing workforce needs in biomedical technology. Its programs are also focused on pioneering technology related to simulation, health applications of artificial intelligence, patient quality and safety, health care administration and fintech.
The campus is projected to be 15 acres and could handle 10,000 graduate students, according to News4Jax.
Speaker of the Florida House Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, also spoke in favor of the campus and said it will transform the city.
“What the University of Florida doesn’t have is a city, a big city like Jacksonville, being based in Gainesville,” Renner said. “And what Jacksonville doesn’t have is a top five university.”
Contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @grunewaldclaire.
Claire Grunewald is a third-year journalism major and a metro reporter for The Alligator. In addition to writing, she enjoys going to the beach and discovering new music.