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Five reasons tuition hike makes sense
By A TIMES EDITORIAL
Published May 22, 2007
The outgoing student body president at the University of Florida says he "wholeheartedly" supports higher tuition for the state's three major research universities, and it's not hard to understand why. For the high-achieving students who land spots at UF, the University of South Florida and Florida State University, this is a deal that makes too much sense to pass up.
Think of the potential benefits:
A smoother path. The extra tuition would, by law, pay for more undergraduate professors and allow for more course offerings. That means a future student might be able to graduate more quickly. Even a semester early would save thousands of dollars in living expenses.
More individual attention. Big research universities can be imposing to any student, and all three plan to hire more academic advisers with the extra income. They also want to reduce the number of students in many undergraduate classes.
A freebie for poor and current students. The extra tuition would apply only to future students and would not be charged to students of low-income families. They would get the benefits without the extra cost.
A shinier sheepskin. UF, which led the legislative effort this year for differential tuition, aspires to become one of the nation's Top 10 public universities. A diploma from such an institution would carry undeniable weight, bestowing upon its recipients greater opportunity in graduate and professional education or the workplace.
Still a bargain. UF's tuition is currently the lowest among the nation's 50 flagship universities. The bill headed to the desk of Gov. Charlie Crist would allow UF and FSU to increase their tuition by up to 40 percent, and USF by up to 30 percent, more than other state institutions. But they could do so only in increments of no more than 15 percent a year. At that rate, their tuitions may still end up ranking last.
Not many students, frankly, are going to clamor for higher tuition. But the UF Student Senate voted last fall, in what outgoing president John Boyles calls "a historic departure," to embrace such an increase there. "Quality education," he recently wrote, "doesn't come cheap."
Boyles urges the governor to sign the tuition bill. That he speaks from a student's point of view makes his plea all the more poignant.