Board delays vote on tuition increase

Undergraduates taking a full course load could pay another $155 a year.

Published August 11, 2006

ORLANDO - The board overseeing Florida's 11 universities won't decide until next month whether to seek a 7 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, but it agreed Thursday to give each university the power to set tuition for graduate and out-of-state students.

Florida's public universities now charge among the highest tuition rates in the nation for out-of-state undergraduate and graduate students.

"We're competing nationally for these graduate students," said University of Florida president Bernie Machen. "You have to pay attention to the market. Deans are telling me they can't recruit students because the tuition is too high."

Also Thursday, the Board of Governors approved a $3.8-billion budget request for the 2007-08 year. It calls for $148-million to cover an additional 15,500 students, as well as $15-million to attract top faculty members and graduate and professional students.

The proposed budget, to be decided in the spring by state lawmakers, also includes $7-million for the University of South Florida's medical school and more than $18-million for student retention, tracking and outreach programs.

Board members will decide at their September meeting whether to ask legislators for a 7 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, which would amount to an additional $155 for students taking 30 credits over two semesters. Tuition is now about $74 per credit hour, or about $3,200 a year for a full course load.

Even if the increase goes through, Florida tuition would remain among the lowest in the country.