Gov. Rick Scott sent community colleges across the state a bold challenge Monday, calling on them to create degree programs that cost $10,000 or less. The challenge comes at time when tuition at schools across Florida is skyrocketing.
During a nearly 30 minute news conference, Scott didn't offer many specifics on how colleges should meet the $10,000 request, but challenged them to find a way.
Statistics shows finding a way to meet the Governor's challenge will be tough. He wants a $10,000 four-year degree, but according to the Department of Education's 2012 annual report for the Florida College System, the mean level of tuition and fees was $3,328 during the 2011-12 academic year. At that rate a degree would cost about $13,300.
The Department of Education also says the average cost for a four-year degree at a public institution in Florida is about $25,000.
Scott proposed the $10,000 degree at the Clearwater campus of St. Petersburg College, which will be the first college to take up Scott's challenge.
The idea has already been criticized by the Florida Democratic Party. In a statement the Democrats said, "We've heard these empty words from Rick Scott before and Florida's middle class families are looking for real leadership - not failed gimmicks masquerading as sound bites."
Channel 4 spoke with students in Jacksonville who said while they like the idea of saving money, they find Scott's proposal far-fetched.
"I'm pretty sure the money has to come from somewhere. It's going to come out of taxes so that's kind of a downside," said Florida State College Student, Eric Wilbanks.
Another student, Taylor Hall, thinks the $10,000 challenge could help students working toward a degree.
"They got to get these loans and then you have to pay them back then you are in debt and you're just falling further and further in the hole," said Hall.