Board of Governors approves differential tuition increase
Original 15 percent increase passes
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012 16:06
After several failed proposals, the Florida Board of Governors ultimately decided to increase UCF’s differential tuition by 15 percent, a move that will add $19.24 per credit hour effective fall 2012.
The Board of Governors met Tuesday through Thursday in the Live Oak Center to review the work plan for each institution in the state university system and to discuss proposed increases.
UCF requested the maximum 15 percent increase to the Board of Governors, but with a vote count of 8-8 the increase was not originally approved. Increases of 9 percent, 13.5 percent and 12 percent failed before the Board of Governors came to its final decision.
The vote counts for each of the proposed increases can be found at the bottom of this article.
The discussion for UCF was originally first during the meeting, but because the Board of Governors couldn’t come to a consensus the discussion was pushed to the end of the meeting after the increases for the other universities were approved. Ultimately with a vote count of 9-7, the Board of Governors approved UCF’s original request.
UCF Student Government Association President Cortez Whatley sat on the Board of Governors for the first time, making him the only UCF student to do so. Although he said the decision was tough, he was in favor of the differential tuition increase because he said that institutions cannot operate on shoestring budgets.
“We are sensitive to the increase in tuition but I don’t think anyone wants to see the institutions fail. When their programs are cut, that's when we will see students get outraged,” Whatley said. “This is a tough decision but in very hard times we have to be pro-education and looking at the long term.”
Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Waldrop wrote in a column that without the increase to differential tuition, 112 faculty positions and 550 classes would have been affected.
Last year’s increase in differential tuition went toward hiring 23 additional faculty, adding 127 additional courses and allowing for a 20.2 percent increase in the number of students receiving need-based financial aid as well as an increase in those awards, according to UCF's work plan.
UCF President John C. Hitt also spoke in favor of the differential tuition increase during the presentation of UCF's work plan.
“The differential tuition increase will help us deliver a high-quality education and more need-based financial aid,” Hitt said.
During both the Budget and Finance Committee and the full Board of Governors meeting, there were several members who said they were strongly opposed to the idea of increasing tuition.
“I want to give the family a break,” Vice Chair Morteza “Mori” Hosseini said. “This has nothing to do with the universities, it’s about the people and the families.”
Elizabeth Webster said that the rate of increases is alarming to her.
“If we continue at the rate we are increasing, my 6-year-old son will not be able to go to a four-year state university,” she said.
Hosseini said he would rather have a compromise instead of increasing differential tuition by the maximum.
None of the members of the Board of Governors liked the idea of increasing the burden on students, including those who voted in favor of the maximum increase.
“I hate tuition increases, I do. If we are going to raise tuition, this is the way to do it,” Tico Perez, who voted in favor of the original proposal, said.
He said that without the increase, necessary courses would be cut, making it more difficult for students to graduate on time; he cited UCF’s reputation as “U Can’t Finish.” He also emphasized that 30 percent of differential tuition goes back toward need-based financial aid.
The only universities that didn't ask for the 15 percent maximum were Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. FGCU requested 14 percent, USF requested 11 percent and UF requested 9 percent.
The Board of Governors did not grant the maximum increase to every university; the final numbers were 9 percent for UF, 11 percent for USF, 12 percent for FGCU, 12 percent for University of North Florida, 15 percent for Florida Atlantic University, 14 percent for University of West Florida, 15 percent for New College, 15 percent for Florida International University, 13 percent for Florida State University and 12 percent for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.