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