Fla. college graduation rates decline

In 2013, tuition hikes will be tied to graduation percentage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With four year graduation rates on the decline at colleges across Florida, state leaders have found a new way to motivate professors, administrators and students.

But the new plan has many school leaders and even students on edge.

Starting in 2013, tuition increases to universities will be based on the percentage of students who graduate.

Only 23 percent of the freshman at the University of North Florida earned their degree in four years according to the colleges website. The number may sound low, but UNF is not alone in their struggle to see students obtain their degree.

Only 12 percent of the students at Florida A & M graduated in 4 years.

Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, graduated less than 20 percent.

Students point to a number of other factors that play into them not walking across the stage. Some of them are out of their control, and others aren't.

"It's based on poor study habits and being involved in too many other aspects of your life," Chemistry major Sweeney Irizariy said.

Irizariy said approving tuition increases based on graduation rates is unfair. He said students should all be given the same opportunity, regardless of whether or not their peers succeed. .

"Students will decide if they should succeed based on whether they go the extra mile or not," Irizariy said. "But you can't give money to schools, just because graduation rates are low."

Some Florida universities don't want to be judged solely on these numbers, but the board of governors thinks it's a good idea, one that will put pressure on everyone to perform to the best of their ability.

"I personally think it's a good idea," UNF student Staci Kirker said. "A good incentive to see their university grow."

Student Julian Wicker disagreed saying, "Not really, because if you don't have a good graduation rate, then obviously you need more funds. It doesn't seem too right."

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