State university tuition increase going to Governor Crist's desk

04/29/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

A bill designed to eventually raise tuition at Florida's public universities to the national average is going to Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist supports the legislation that received final passage today in the House.

Democrat Marty Kiar was one of the relatively few in either state body against the bill.

Florida's tuition now ranks at or near the bottom nationally. It’s numbers like that prompted St. Petersburg Democrat Bill Heller to support the bill.

The bill would give each of the 11 schools the authority to raise tuition up to 15 percent a year including across-the-board raises ordered by the Legislature.

Fellow Pinellas Democrat Daryl Rouson also supports the higher tuition, but he confessed to having ambivalent feelings about possibly making college less affordable for some.

Tampa Democrat Betty Reed said the fact that a portion of the higher tuition fees will go to students in need helped lock in her support.

But Miami Democrat Dwight Bullard could not support the tuition increase. But Bullard was one of only 17 members to vote against the tuition increase, with 101 supporting it.

House-Senate budget negotiators also today agreed to an 8 percent statewide increase. Under the bill, each university then could add another 7 percent.

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