Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

College Tuition Is on the Way Up FCCJ Gets Lure for DaimlerChrysler

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

College Tuition Is on the Way Up FCCJ Gets Lure for DaimlerChrysler

Article excerpt

Byline: Tia Mitchell, Times-Union staff writer

The $50 billion state budget approved by lawmakers yesterday includes a tuition increase for college students and funding for numerous projects at the schools they attend.

Lawmakers approved a 3 percent increase in tuition per credit hour at the state's community colleges, a 5 percent increase for Florida residents attending public universities and a 10 percent increase for non-Florida residents.

University officials were unsuccessful in trying to persuade lawmakers to give boards of trustees unlimited flexibility to increase tuition at their respective institutions beyond the rate set by the Legislature. Instead, the boards are allowed to increase tuition up to an additional 5 percent for graduate students from Florida and an additional 10 percent for all non-Florida residents.

The organization that represents the students of Florida's public universities opposes giving trustees any flexibility. The Florida Student Association, a lobbying group that represents the student governments of the state's public universities, cites studies that show rapid increases in tuition at schools governed by local boards.

"The national trend and the national indicators are that if local boards have control over tuition, tuition increases exponentially," said David Foy, executive director of the association. Foy said students support the current system, where tuition is set by elected officials and the governor has veto power.

While most of the community colleges and universities begin lobbying lawmakers to fund special projects early in the regular session, the Legislature decided to support one project that, before April, they didn't know existed.

Members of the Jacksonville delegation are credited with persuading their colleagues to allocate $15 million to Florida Community College at Jacksonville for a job training center that will be part of the incentive package area officials hope will attract automaker DaimlerChrysler to the area. The money is contingent upon the company deciding to build a plant in Jacksonville.

Susan Lehr, vice president of government relations at FCCJ, said that although she is happy with the budget, she thinks more money should have been spent on building projects at community colleges. …

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