Milking students for every penny

Florida lawmakers are planning the state’s budget for the upcoming year and have fallen back on a trusted solution to university funding – raising tuition.

Reports in the Tallahassee Democrat state that the House and Senate have earmarked tuition increases for Florida’s public universities.

Along with Gov. Jeb Bush’s proposed 7.5 percent tuition hike, students across Florida are certain to be paying more for their education.

The state of Florida must find alternative methods to handle their budget woes beyond raising the cost of education.

The Council of 100, a group of business leaders who advise Gov. Bush, is helping to push the plan along. The group which consists of three members of the Board of Governors presented an even more drastic plan to raise money for the state through higher tuition and cuts in the Bright Futures Program.

Their plan has been lauded by board members. “We need to find a way to make an impact on the Legislature,” Board of Governors member Miguel DeGrandy said.

Although at first glance it may appear that they have fixed the state’s budget issues, the legislature is creating problems with long reaching implications. If less Florida residents have access to higher education, the state will begin to see a decline in the number of residents with college degrees.

Studies by the U.S. Department of Education have shown that people with college degrees earn more over their lifetime than non-degree holders. These same higher earners ultimately contribute more to state education systems through taxes and donations.

Problem is, its solely a tuition raise. The legislators have not proposed methods to ensure the educational experience is increased to match the additional costs. Students are expected to pay more for an education that has not increased in value.

Over the past decade, the state of Florida has instituted nine tuition increases, but there continue to be financial problems. If raising the price of education has not solved the state’s financial troubles thus far, the legislators are being naïve to believe that this increase will yield any different results beyond the need for greater increases in the not-too-distant future.

The state needs to examine long term solutions to their monetary woes rather than focusing on a temporary fix, especially one such as an increase in tuition.

Florida cannot continue to make students pay for their lack of budgeting savvy. By increasing tuition and decreasing aid, the state of Florida is on a surefire path to solely limit the access students have to education, which is far worse than any fiscal slump the state may be in.