Students walk to classes to pursue their education at the University of South Florida college campus quad in Tampa, Florida, USA on January 15, 2020. Photo and Caption: Leigh Trail/Shutterstock.com
Over the last four years, the Florida education system has maintained tuition levels while ensuring Florida’s higher education system is the best in the country. The price of a bachelor’s degree at Florida’s public colleges is currently the lowest in the nation, according to the College Board’s most recent “Annual Trends in College Pricing” study. Since the publication of its rankings in 2017, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Florida as the top state for higher education overall, as well as the top state for tuition and fees.
“A college degree should not put our students into a lifetime of debt,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida’s public college and university system is number one in the country because we put students first and this achievement proves we are on the right track. We will continue to prioritize offering a world-class education at an affordable price, providing the greatest value for our students.”
After accounting for Florida’s investment in Bright Futures and other financial aid, the typical State University System student pays less than $3,400 for a bachelor’s degree, showing a decrease five years in a row. While tuition and fees nationwide increased by 17 percent, they have remained unchanged in Florida since 2014-2015.
The State University System recently reported that graduation rates had increased by 12% over the previous five years and that the cost of a bachelor’s degree had decreased by 49% annually for students. With 12 state colleges and more than 430,000 students, Florida’s State University System is the second-largest in the country.
“The significant investments the governor and legislative leaders have made in higher education are pivotal to holding down the tuition and fee costs for Florida’s students, even as they rise across the country,” said Brian Lamb, Chair of the Board of Governors. “This success reflects the emphasis our Board and university leadership have placed on accountability, performance, and cost, all of which attract the best and brightest students who seek the exceptional educational experience Florida’s institutions offer.”
Florida’s 12 public institutions have kept costs down and cut the number of student loans required to graduate, despite efforts by the federal government to shift the expense of student debt onto taxpayers. Over 17,000 fewer resident undergraduate students within the State University System took out loans in 2020–21 than in 2019–20, and 75 percent of resident undergraduate students did not take out any loans.
Fewer resident undergraduate students are taking out loans, and loan default rates are reduced as a result of enhanced financial aid, including Bright Futures and the Florida Student Assistance Grant, higher graduation rates, and consistently affordable tuition.
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Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.