The Florida Board of Governors (BOG) passed a regulation allowing state universities to adopt a “block” tuition system at its meeting in Gainesville on Thursday morning.
If institutions are interested in implementing block tuition, it could mean all full-time students would pay the equivalent of 15 credit hours per semester regardless of how many classes they take.
“The Board has approved a process by which university Board of Trustees can apply to implement block tuition,” said Paul Dosal, director of the Office of Student Success. “So they haven’t approved (the system itself), but they have given the go ahead for universities to present proposals requesting it if they choose to.”
Universities intending to implement block tuition can organize a detailed request to be presented in January that meets qualifications set by the BOG, according to the Miami Herald.
“USF is not in the position to present a proposal,” Dosal said. “We don’t have one in development. At this point, we’re talking and thinking about it, because we consider anything that might enhance student success an obligation. If it works elsewhere, then it might be helpful in improving our graduation rates, but right now, we aren’t there.”
Joseph Anastasio, Student Government (SG) director of University and Community Affairs, served on a committee of administrators who researched the block tuition proposal for USF.
“I was asked to serve as a student representative, but I think it really just would not help a lot of students,” he said. “For things like the biomedical sciences, you aren’t going to take pre-calc and organic chemistry and physics … all in the same semester. If students took more credit hours, it would hurt some majors more than others.”
Though the University of Florida is the only state institution that has indicated it is actively pursuing block tuition, Anastasio said many students have expressed concerns that it could be implemented at others like USF.
“I also created an SG survey, conducted with 393 students,” Anastasio said. “The majority of the ballots showed that students did not support the block tuition system, and also that they would not feel encouraged to take more classes under this system.”
Mikaela Aradi, a freshman majoring in biomedical sciences, said she does not want block tuition implemented at USF.
“The survey shows it, and I really don’t think that this would motivate students to take more classes here,” she said. “If they do, then they may not actually be able to handle the load. It’s unfair for us to pay for what we aren’t taking.”