Block tuition gives students raw deal

Man, I love the college life. Long lazy days spent in the penthouse. Back massages poolside while sipping Hennessy. Treating $500 an hour hookers to lobster tail dinners. Not a care in the world.

What? This lifestyle doesn’t sound familiar?

Well that’s how Jeb Bush and the Board of Governors seem to think you’re spending your time.

Yes folks, the state legislature will vote during the next session on the matter of block tuition. This is a system where students in state-funded universities will be charged for 15 credit hours regardless of how many hours they actually enroll for.

The Florida Board of Governors claims that this is going to expedite the graduation of seniors, thereby creating space in classes and residence halls for incoming freshman.

Florida State University’s Board of Trustees has already narrowly voted to implement this system if permitted by the state.

In a Sept. 25 issue of the Tallahassee Democrat article, FSU Board Provost Larry Abele said ” The truth is…we still have a considerable number of students who came in as freshman eight years ago.”

Abele then went on to say that 40 percent of FSU freshman and 60 percent of seniors have jobs. Of those who are employed, 25 percent are working 30 hours or more a week.

I don’t know how these figures fit into this guy’s argument, but to me they are obvious reasons why this plan will not work. Perhaps they should create a proposal that would target those individuals who are not moving fast enough, as opposed to a blanket condemnation of all students. One solution would be to focus on encouraging students to take more summer classes by offering incentives or increasing the number of available classes.

The fact is, I can’t afford to lose the work I would miss by taking 15 credit hours, and I don’t believe that I should have to pay for them if I’m not going to take them. And you better believe that I’m not going to play into their hand and take an extra course just because they’re already charging me for it.

Nearly 80 percent of FAMU students already take at least12 credit hours, the amount of classes that are normally considered full time. In-state FAMU students already taking 12 hours can expect to add $306.36 to their semester’s tuition, plus the added schoolwork that goes with an extra course.

The Board of Governors, which oversees state universities, has submitted the proposal to the legislature for review. They will take the matter up for discussion in December this year and probably vote on it in the spring.

To make matters worse, the Bush administration is already talking about reducing the amount of student loans.

The Board of Governors has asked each University to report on its interest in block tuition. I think we’re being railroaded on this deal. We need to make some noise on this issue. As students, we should tell them what we think about it. Also, make sure that your parents, who are helping pay for your expenses, are informed.

The Board of Governors can be contacted through the commissioner’s office at Commissioner@fldoe.

org. Gov. Bush can be contacted at jeb.bush@my Let’s fill their inboxes and let them know what we think.

Mackenzie Turberville is a junior magazine production student from Lake City. Contact him at