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Happytown: Tuition hike proposed for state schools

House Speaker Will Weatherford suggests 6 percent increase for all public universities

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$37 MILLION

MONEY RAISED BY A PROPOSED 6 PERCENT TUITION INCREASE AT FLORIDA’S PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES

$6,232

AVERAGE ANNUAL IN-STATE TUITION FOR FLORIDA’S PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES

$1,668

AVERAGE ANNUAL AMOUNT SPENT BY U.S. FAMILIES ON CELLPHONES

 

“Our students and our parents are spending as much money on their cellphones a year as they are paying for tuition.” – Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford on March 28
Sources: Tampa Bay Times, J.D. Power and Associates

CAMPUS CRUNCH

As if it weren’t hard enough to be an aspiring student in an economy devoid of meaningful jobs, last week our legislative friends in Tallahassee began promoting the idea that, hey, we should probably make you have to work 80 hours a week to sustain those 16 credit hours of sweet liberal arts and stuff, hipster.

On March 28, everybody’s favorite frat boy keg-stand hero, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, made a stink bomb of support for a 6 percent tuition hike across the board for the state’s 12 public universities. He noted that, of all the states, Florida’s schools languish way down at No. 41 for tuition costs, brah, so that $6,232 that kids are paying now is totally comparable with how much kids and families are spending playing Angry Birds on their iPhones. Not cool, man.

“We think to just take tuition off the table and ignore the fact that we are ranked so low … is not right,” Weatherford said, according to the Associated Press.

But the idea of a rate increase comes at a pretty ridiculous time. On the federal level, new students are about to see their Stafford Loan interest rates spike from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent because Congress couldn’t get its crap together (the increase was halted last year). And statewide, the university system is about to see the $300 million that was cut from its collective budget by Gov. Rick Scott last year returned, with an additional sum of more than $100 million (plus extra for the University of Florida and Florida State University) plonked on top when the annual budgeting process concludes.

Also, universities have already been hiking tuition to cover that giant $300 million hole by as much as 15 percent (the maximum allowed). So, basically the public is going to catch a hot potato when said root vegetable probably needn’t be in play. Even Gov. Scott thinks it’s ridiculous.

“This is a tax,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times, without a trace of irony. “It’s a tax on students; it’s a tax on families. So we can’t be raising the cost to get higher education in this state.”

Hmmm. Back in January, Scott was all campaign-car hood-ornamenting about discount degrees that would only set folks back $10,000 total. This is not part of his scheme! Apparently, Weatherford’s latest dick move is worsening the rift between the speaker and the governor; they’ve already come to blows over the Medicaid expansion mess. Meanwhile, Gov. Scott’s reportedly been sharpening his veto pen, because nobody wins, ever.

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