Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2013-14 state budget into law today. He also sent a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner explaining his decision to veto a tuition hike.
“We are also holding the line on tuition by vetoing the Legislature’s recommended 3 percent tuition increase on our college and university students,” the governor wrote.
“I believe it is incumbent upon state leaders to ensure the cost of higher education remains accessible to as many Floridians as possible,” Scott said.
“Florida should be proud that we have one of the most affordable high-quality college and university systems in the country,” Scott wrote, “now also offering $10,000 baccalaureate degree programs.”
Scott said the state should be proud to keep tuition low.
“We know that investing in economic development and our K-12 education system is working to create more jobs and opportunity in our state,” Scott said.
The veto was expected, since Scott has been clear about not supporting any increase in tuition. Plus, university presidents had already pledged not to ask for a tuition hike.
Ed Moore, president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, said Scott seems to be looking at tuition as a tax.
“He is of the mindset that he wants to hold costs down,” Moore said, “but someone’s paying for it. Whether the consumer is going to pay for it directly or it’s going to be in higher state payments to those universities…you don’t buy quality on the cheap.”
“Those costs have to be met somehow,” Moore said.
The state budget includes $20.3 billion in total funding for K-12 education. The Governor’s Office says that’s a $1.08 billion increase over the current fiscal year.
Margie Menzel with News Service of Florida contributed to this story.