Fla. Gov. Rick Scott warns universities about tuition hikes

Scott says if universities take hike, they need to lower other fees

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Governor Rick Scott is on a mission to kill an automatic 1.7 percent tuition hike. The increase is written into state law and is based on the rate of inflation.

Scott is now warning universities that if they take the hike, they need to lower other fees.

The year 1995 was the last time college students didn't see their tuition go up from one year to the next. Tuition then was $1,700 a year.

"As I came into the office, I've been opposed to tuition increases," Scott said.

Scott is on a mission to keep universities from hiking tuition. He vetoed a 3 percent hike that would have added about $100 a year.

"Our universities have raised tuition fees 125 percent in the last 10 years," said Scott.

This week, Scott met with four university presidents, trying to block a state law that requires tuition to go up as much as inflation. FSU President Eric Barron was one of the four.

"I told him that our legal counsel as for other universities said this is automatic," said Barron.

This fall's automatic increase is 1.7 percent. Scott said if the law requires the hike, something else should be lowered.

"I'm very concerned about the cost of tuition," said Scott.

University Trustees have the final decision. At FSU, Faculty Senate President Gary Tyson, said the school needs the resources.

"Right now, I'm leaning towards going with the current budget, which includes the cost of living increase on it," Tyson said. "I've looked at the rest of the budget and we're spending our money well."

If that 1995 tuition had only increased by the rate of inflation, students this past year would have paid just $2,600, instead of the $6,000 they pay.

Trustees at FSU will vote on the increase Friday afternoon.

In addition to trying to lower the cost of college, Scott also sees political opportunity. His let's Get to Work campaign committee sent an email this week, asking supporters who agree with his tuition stance to send $10.

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