Students rail block tuition

Some college students in Florida are protesting the implementation of block tuition.

The Florida Student Association, an organization that combines students from several Florida universities, lobbied its issues on block tuition in front of the Capitol Wednesday.

“Some things you just can’t change,” said SGA President Virgil Miller, a graduate allied health sciences student from West Palm Beach.

Miller, a member of the FSA, said block tuition would affect enrollment and bring less revenues to the University. He also said the group will meet with Alan Bense, the Florida speaker of the house.

The block tuition proposal is a part of Gov. Jeb Bush’s plan to slash higher education costs by encouraging students to graduate in four years or less.

“More than 60 percent of students should be graduating from school,” Bush said.

Students will be charged for 15 credit hours per semester regardless of how many credits they want to accept. However, to be considered a full-time student, students need only 12 credit hours.

Bush said, “There should be an incentive for students to take 12 hours or more.”

Bush and the State Board of Governors promote the block tuition initiative as a way to save taxpayers’ dollars.

While the Legislature is trying to save tax dollars, some students are trying to save their right to enroll in a certain amount of classes.

“We do not want to be forced in and out of school,” said Monique Gillum, 18, a freshman political science student from Gainesville.

Gillum was one of the students chosen as a member of Young People for the American Way. The non-profit organization held a convention in Washington, D.C. that charged students to begin a progressive campaign at their colleges and universities.

“The University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Florida State University and FAMU fellows decided to make their campaign against block tuition,” Gillum said. “It affects the whole state of Florida and people who come after us will have to deal with the situation.”

Gillum said she questions the government’s efforts to take money from the education system.

She added that the goal for student leaders right now is to educate other students about the initiative.

“There is power behind numbers,” Gillum said.

Despite the groups efforts to fight the initiative, some students agree with the block tuition proposal.

“It’s forcing students to plan more for education,” said Rashard Thurston, 24, a senior history education student from Miami.

Thurston said block tuition forces students to take their education seriously and graduate on time. He said regardless of the proposal an “education in Florida is cheaper than most other states.”

The FAMU administration has taken an important role in negotiating with the Board of Governors on behalf of the students.

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