The cost of a prepaid, 4-year university plan for a newborn in Florida has climbed more than 350 percent in the last six years.
That’s what Gov. Rick Scott heard during a presentation Tuesday by the Florida Prepaid College Board.
In 2006-07, the prepaid cost for 4-year university tuition and fees was $14,616. Now, it’s $53,729, which comes out to $332 a month over 18 years.
“More than 50 percent of the families in our state make less than $50,000 a year,” Scott told reporters Tuesday. “Prepaid being almost $54,000 is a big drain.”
Even though Florida tuition has long been lower than the national average, Scott doesn’t like the way universities are playing catch-up.
“At current projections, the cost of tuition and fees for a newborn, like my grandson Auguste, to get a degree in 2030 would exceed $140,000. This is simply unacceptable,” Scott said.
“I have asked our universities to hold the line on tuition increases and because of our efforts, I am pleased the Florida Prepaid College Board was able to decrease their tuition inflation assumption for the next three years.”
Until last year, the prepaid board had been assuming a 15 percent tuition inflation rate when figuring price increases. That rate is now down to 10 percent. But Scott says it could be better.
He asked the board to figure out how much prepaid tuition would cost if the price had risen just 3 percent a year for inflation.
“It was $18,000, and I think it was $112 a month if you’re going to do it that way. So, that’s a big change,” Scott said.
As the price of prepaid tuition has jumped, Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships aren’t paying as much as they used to.
So, Scott has asked community colleges to come up with $10,000 Bachelor Degrees.
He also wants universities to stop raising tuition. University presidents recently announced they will not seek any increase in tuition next year as long as the state comes up with an additional $118-million in funding.