Cost of Fla. universities 7th most affordable in US

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new report shows Florida has some of the most affordable higher education in the United States. However, the cost of tuition continues to increase at a deceivingly high rate.

Across Florida, students working on a bachelor's degree are paying nearly a third of what their peers are paying in other parts of the country.

"It's really nice, actually, because you always hear things about people who have high student loans," said Florida State Uniersity freshman Brianna Griffin.

A new report from the College Board ranks Florida seventh cheapest for an in-state, four-year degree. Those degrees now cost just more than $6,000 a year.

"Public school tuition in Florida is a real bargain," said Ed Moore, of Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.

But, at the same time, Florida's percentage increase over the last five years ranks in the top five nationwide. Gov. Rick Scott has made it his mission to keep education costs low.

"Tuition has gone up significantly in the last five years," Scott said. "We've got to stop this."

Even though percentage increases rank toward the top, education leaders say those numbers are deceiving because number wise, Florida's tuition is still some of the lowest nationwide, and the cheapest in the southeast.

"People who are out there paying the tuition need to look at what their real dollar casts are," Moore said. "Opposed to, ‘Oh my. My tuition has gone up 15 percent over the last couple of years.'"

FSU President Eric Barrow says the university strives to provide quality education for students.

"We're taking every dollar and making sure our students are successful," Barrow said.

Bachelor students say the low prices will help them pay off debt.

"I think we're lucky that we do get to go to such a great school and still not have to pay the same amount," said FSU senior Celerina Dreher.

The number of students seeking either a two-year or four-year degree is up by almost half in the last decade.

The state with the highest average cost per year for a four-year degree was New Hampshire at a little more than $14,000.

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