Gov. Rick Scott’s $142.7 million in budget vetoes would cut a number of higher education programs, including those in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields which Scott has championed over the past year.
Scott wrote in his veto message that the state’s colleges and universities will have to choose their priorities wisely. Scott’s main concern, he wrote, was maintaining high-quality programs while keeping the cost of higher education affordable.
Scott did not veto a tuition increase approved by lawmakers, but told reporters that he does not support more than a 5 percent hike. Scott also drew a line in the sand that lawmakers had to add $1 billion for K-12 education, though more than half of that money pays for rising costs and a shrinking property tax base and does nothing to replace several years of budget cuts.
Last year Scott vetoed more than $600 million in items from the state budget.
Among the education-related budget vetoes:
$4.2 million for osteopathic medicine, optometry, pharmacy and nursing programs at Nova Southeastern University.
$3.1 million for 500 students at the University of Miami’s College of Medicine.
$3.1 million for a medical training simulation laboratory.
$2.5 million for a degree completion pilot program at the University of Western Florida, the University of South Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville and St. Petersburg College.
$2 million for the Center for Digital Learning and Education.
$450,000 for virtual education.