Gov. Rick Scott has sharply restated his opposition to any tuition hike, sending letters to all 12 public universities on Friday warning that he “absolutely will fight to hold the line on tuition in Florida.”
Although the letters don’t address the issue directly, a spokeswoman in the governor’s office said the letters were responding to inquiries over whether his recent veto of a 3 percent tuition hike passed by the state Legislature meant universities still could go ahead with a 1.7 percent increase tied to inflation. The inflation provision is in state statute.
Scott’s letter states, “I know there are several legal opinions concerning who would implement a tuition increase and how they would go about doing it. Again, we are committed to fighting against any tuition increase in Florida.”
The University of South Florida was among those seeking guidance on the inflation provision, saying so in a release after Scott issued his veto. USF administrators were not on campus Friday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.
“We don’t want a three percent increase or even a one percent increase in tuition on our students,” Scott’s letter states.
This week, a USF trustees group approved work plans for the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses that reflect some slight hikes in fees but no change to base or differential tuition.
In-state undergraduate tuition and fees are expected to total $6,389 at the Tampa campus, up $55, or 0.9 percent, from last school year. At St. Petersburg, the tuition and fee request is for $5,823, up $107, or 1.9 percent. At Sarasota-Manatee, the request is $5,530, the same figure as last year.
The overall increases at Tampa and St. Petersburg are due to hikes in campus fees such as building, activity, health and athletics charges. A USF spokeswoman said further discussion of tuition would be at a Board of Trustees meeting in June.