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Scott calls for $10,000 degrees

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 00:11

Cost of a ream of ruled paper? $1.99.

Cost of graduation robes? $44.

Cost of a college degree? $10,000, if Fla. Gov. Rick Scott has his way.

Scott issued a “$10,000 Degree Challenge” to Florida state colleges to create a four-year degree program that costs $10,000.

At USF, an in-state student who takes 30 credit hours will pay about $6,260 in tuition alone per year.

“As I travel the state, families tell me that they care about three things: getting a good job, a quality education and enjoying a low cost of living,” Scott said at an appearance at St. Petersburg College Monday “As a former community college student myself, I know how important it is for us to keep costs low while working to connect students with degree fields that prepare them for great careers.”

Though Scott’s request was to state colleges, universities are also paying close attention to the issue. Not all colleges offer bachelor’s degrees, but many are beginning to do so through partnerships with 4-year institutions, such as Hillsborough Community College has started to do via USF.  
Scott, who since last year has advocated against tuition hikes, formed a blue-ribbon task force to examine issues pertinent to higher education after the last legislative session. Last week, the task force recommended Scott allow universities to increase tuition.

State University System Chairman Frank Brogan said in a statement released from Board of Governors (BOG) spokeswoman Kim Wilmath that he supported the effort to keep education “accessible.”

“From technical schools to state colleges to universities, Florida students are fortunate to have a full range of educational opportunities that can fit their individual goals, and we support any effort to keep higher education accessible,” he said. “The Governor’s charge complements the hard work already underway by the Board of Governors’ Commission on Higher Education Access and Attainment, which has been tasked with creating a roadmap for an organized, cost-effective and valuable system of higher education. ... Ensuring affordability is another important objective. We’re proud that tuition at our state universities remain among the lowest in the nation.”

BOG Chairman Dean Colson said the cause of accessibility was a “worthy one” in the statement.

“We look forward to hearing more details about the Governor’s plan and how it will be accomplished,” he said. “If additional state support is needed, it would certainly be a worthy investment.”

Tuition requests from universities will be presented to the BOG in spring.

— Staff report


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