Florida House aims to raise university tuition 6 percent

4:08 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - A split is developing between Republican leaders in the Florida House and Senate over university tuition next year.

The House wants to raise tuition six percent. The Senate is proposing no tuition increase.

House leaders argue Florida's tuition rates are below the national average and an increase would help universities keep pace with other schools around the country.

The average cost of tuition in Florida is about $6,200. Nationwide, it's $8,600.

Gov. Rick Scott is also making it clear he opposes tuition increases. He compares them to tax hikes.

"This is a tax. It's a tax on students. It's a tax on families so we can't be raising the cost to get a higher education in this state. What we've got to focus on is what's it cost for a degree? When they walk out of school do these students have jobs or are they going on to higher ed. How much money do they make when they leave? That's what we all focused on when we were getting out of school."

Florida has raised university tuition rates for 17 straight years.

Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, does not agree with Gov. Scott on many issues, but both agree on this one.

Pafford opposes a tuition hike, saying Florida should take steps to increase access to higher education.

"I don't think there's any reason to hit students and families harder, especially over the last several years where the economy has really been hit hard, families have been hit hard, the middle class has been hit hard. A higher education is supposed to be one of those tools to help people achieve more in life and making it more difficult to achieve, to get there, doesn't make sense for Florida."

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