Florida’s Public Universities Seek a Bargain on Tuition Increases

After years of political wrangling, Florida’s 11 public universities got the authority in 2009 to raise tuition up to 15 percent annually without the State Legislature’s approval.

But now they’re telling lawmakers they would be glad to freeze tuition next year if they got a $118-million increase in state appropriations. At a news briefing on Tuesday, the universities’ presidents joined student-government leaders to highlight higher education’s estimated economic impact on Florida and the nearly 40-percent cut in state funds the universities have absorbed in the past five years.

The requested increase in state money is equal to a 15-percent tuition increase, but it would not burden families with higher college costs, Cortez Whatley, president of the Florida Student Association and student-body president at the University of Central Florida, said in a written statement.

“For the sake of Florida’s students, businesses, and communities,” he said, “we need to keep a college education affordable and accessible to all.”

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