Questioning Florida's ever-increasing university tuition hikes

5:23 PM, Jun 11, 2012   |    comments
State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan says there’s a "change in the wind out there” over Florida's ever-increasing tuition increases.
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Tallahassee, Florida - Tuition increases at Florida's universities over the past few years have totaled between 45 and 60 percent and now state University System Chancellor Frank Brogan is questioning how much higher can they go.

Brogan says he sees a "change in the wind out there" over Florida's ever-increasing tuition rates. He says people are rightly asking if big tuition hikes for students every year are sustainable.

Brogan says state operating funds for universities have dropped about 43 percent over the past five years so schools have tried to make up for the lost cash by raising tuition. State law allows them to raise tuition up to 15 percent a year.

Brogan says tuition increases of 60 percent over the past few years are the bad news, but the good news is that Florida still offers some of the lowest in-state tuition rates in the nation.

"We're still ranked 45th in the United States. A full load of coursework is about $5,500 or $5,600 in Florida and you look at many states and it's $10,000 to $16,000 for that same load of coursework at public institutions. But be that as it may, that's hard sell to somebody who is seeing their tuition increase every year. Even though we have the 45th lowest undergraduate in-state tuition in the United States, is it sustainable to simply continue to make up on the backs of students without any let-up what we're not getting at this point in our history via the recession through the legislative process."

Brogan appeared before the governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education on Monday. The task force is meeting over the next few months to develop recommendations on how to reform higher education for the future.

Brogan says he has high hopes for the group and that it will help create an accountability-based approach to higher education.

"Make sure there's a return on investment. So at the end of the day I expect the governor's group will take a 30,000-feet look at this essential, critical issue and hopefully come back with some good recommendations about how we can further the issue of higher education in Florida's future."

The task force plans to offer its recommendations later this year.

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