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Letters to the Editor

Re: Editorial, 06/02, “Tuition policy just anther step up the AAU ladder.”Many thanks for the editorial on tuition policy. We need to have more debate about the future of higher education in Florida, and the Oracle editorials have consistently addressed these long-term issues.

But your key point was about making it easier for out-of-state students to attend USF. I believe USF is strengthened by geographic diversity. Our desire to bring geographic diversity is in no way intended to limit access to qualified in-state students. We will accept an out-of-state undergraduate student paying $14,781 in annual tuition only if she/he is more qualified than an in-state student paying $2,670. However, as rightly pointed out by the editorial board of the Oracle, the role of the graduate students is a critical part in driving USF’s national prestige in research.

Our recent proposal to the USF Board of Trustees for a new tuition and fee structure is a result of our long and hard strategic thinking. Although our strategic goal of maintaining a diverse learning environment is well-served by USF’s healthy gender and ethnic mix in the student body, we lag behind in providing our students with a geographically diverse cohort group to work with in preparation for a global workplace.

Even some of our State University System peers are in an enviable position. The current out-of-state, full-time-equivalent student count at UF is 310 percent of USF and at FSU is 190 percent of the number at USF. We are determined to address this deficiency in years to come, and the tuition and fee proposal is a positive step in that direction.

USF has made very significant progress in the last decade and ranks 52nd among the public research universities.

Inside as well as outside of USF, many conjecture on how USF has made such considerable progress given her humble beginnings as a regional teaching institution.

It is the dream and hard work of students, faculty and staff at USF that has made this possible. Aspiring to be inducted to Association of American Universities is part of our continuing dream.

Tapas Das is the associate provost in Policy Analysis, Planning and Performance.