Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why Gov. Rick Scott Can’t Prevent University Tuition Hikes

Joe Raedle / Getty News Images

Gov. Rick Scott opposes tuition hikes that could result from the proposed Florida House budget.

Gov. Rick Scott has thrown out a handful of education markers for lawmakers this session, most notably threatening to veto any budget that does not increase K-12 funding.

Scott told lawmakers that he also opposes a proposed budget that would raise tuition at state universities. But it’s worth underlining a passage in the Orlando Sentinel’s budget story today: Scott’s veto may be useless to stop tuition hikes:

Scott has said he wanted to keep Florida’s tuition rates lower than other states’ as a competitive advantage and harked back to his own days as a self-financed college student. But he may not have much say in the decision.

House Appropriations Chair Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, said Wednesday that the governor won’t be able to veto the hikes because they aren’t being implemented by a line item in the budget.

In 2007 Lawmakers first gave universities the ability to raise tuition by 15 percent a year, as long as tuition was below the national average. That means budget writers don’t have to approve tuition increases — universities can just raise the cost.

It also means that unless Scott wants to flex some muscle elsewhere, he’s powerless to stop the estimated $245 million in coming tuition hikes.


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