Governor Christ to veto Tuition Increase?

05/08/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

 No word yet when and if Governor Charlie Crist will in fact veto the proposal that would raise the tuition costs at Florida’s 3 largest universities as much as 40 percent in the near future. State lawmakers last week voted to allow tuition hikes at the University of Florida, Florida State University, and USF.  The bill is strongly endorsed by St. Petersburg representative, Democrat Bill Heller.  Heller has been involved in higher education for over 30 years. And he says experience has proved to him that it’s important that there not be a one size fit all in terms of tuition for all state Universities (roll tape#1 o.q.”philosophy’) Currently, undergraduate tuition is the same across the state for public universities - $73.71  a semester unit. According to the Palm Beach Post, if the bill were to go into law, average fees and tuition at the University of Florida would go from $2,220 to $3,270. Officials at UF and some of the other state schools have complained that the average tuition at its school pales dramatically with other universities spread across the country of similar size. 

And they also say they need more money to keep up with the increasing number of students seeking a college education.   An additional 10,585 students are expected to enroll in the state's 11 universities this year.  Again, St. Petersburg Democrat Bill Heller (roll tape#2 o.q.”as he or she should be getting”)           

Governor Charlie Crist and some House Democrats have criticized the legislation, saying they’ll be doing so on the backs of those who can least afford it, students who are barely able to make tuition as it stands now.   Tallahassee State Representative Curtis Richardson (roll tape#3o.q. “of all of our students”)

But Representative Richardson is not deaf to the cries that higher education in Florida has been severely underfunded.  He says that’s a part of the legacy of former Governor Jeb Bush that Charlie Crist and the legislature must undo (roll tape#4 o.q.”University system”)

Fellow HouseDemocrat Bill Heller says he hears the call that higher tuition will hurt some students and families   (Roll tape#4 o.q.”and so forth”)

That’s St. Petersburg Representative   Bill Heller.  For 10 years Bill Heller ran the USF-St. Petersburg Campus.  Before that  he was dean of education at North Carolina-Charlotte.  And Before that, he worked at the University of Alabama, Chair of Special Education.       

Again, Governor Crist has threatened to veto the bill.

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