Public University Tuition Increase Being Considered in Florida

Image by Ernie A. Stephens from Pixabay 

There are currently calls for increasing college tuition, including the first across-the-board tuition increase since 2013 for 420,000 students who attend Florida’s 12 public universities. There are also proposals for streamlining programs and services and possible faculty and staff layoffs. Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered Florida departments and agencies to trim 8.5 percent from their fiscal year 2021 budgets and to identify 10 percent that can be cut from their proposed fiscal year 2022 spending plans.

The Florida Board of Governors (BOG), which manages the state’s public university system, will review its proposed fiscal year 2022 budget October 15. Members of the Florida Board of Governors on Wednesday cited a decrease in state revenues because of the coronavirus. Talk of a tuition hike comes as many students complain that they already are not getting enough value for their money because of steps taken to limit the coronavirus’ spread. 

Student services have been curtailed and campus activities have been sharply reduced. Some students have filed lawsuits seeking refunds. Mostly well-known is the fact that classes have moved to an online format since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

But state officials pointed to numbers indicating that tuition at Florida’s state universities is comparatively low. The national average is $10,487, according to a presentation at the BOG budget committee. The presentation showed that Florida’s average tuition of $6,352 is the second-lowest in the nation, above only Wyoming.

Florida’s last tuition increase came in 2013, when it rose about 1.7 percent before remaining relatively flat since then, Tim Jones said. Jones is vice chancellor for finance and administration for the committee. It would take a 13 or 14 percent increase for the state to reach the level of North Carolina, which has fifth-lowest tuition in the country, he said.

BOG staff calculated during the meeting that a 1% tuition increase would result in about $7 million generated for the State University System. A 1% cut to general revenue would result in a $30 million loss in university allocations. It would take a 14% increase for the state to match tuition at North Carolina public universities, the fifth-lowest in the country, and a 65% hike to charge the national average to attend a state university, according to BOG staff calculations.

Board members have not yet made a final decision on tuition Wednesday. It is also not known when the committee will reconvene to discuss the matter further. The Board has until October 15 to submit its budget request to the Legislature.

What You Should Know About College Tuition Costs

College tuition prices are a lot higher today compared with two decades ago. Paying for college is expensive, and many families have struggled to pay for the cost of their child’s continued education. Experts say most of the hikes in tuition among private and public four-year institutions coincided with the Great Recession. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, you can expect things to change. Tuition and fees vary from college to college. 

The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 school year was $41,411 at private colleges, $11,171 for state residents at public colleges and $26,809 for out-of-state students at state schools, according to data reported to U.S. News in an annual survey. Many higher education experts recommend that prospective students look beyond published prices since the tuition listed may not be the actual amount they’ll pay after financial aid and institutional grants.

To learn more, please visit U.S. News’ list of Average Cost of Tuition in 2020-2021.