Last November, Gov. Rick Scott challenged Florida’s colleges to offer $10,000 degrees for programs that place students in high-demand fields.
Most of the schools in the Florida College System pledged to meet that challenge, but as the Sun Sentinel reported over the weekend, the results so far have been mixed:
“… the degree options are limited, the eligibility requirements are often tough and the marketing efforts have been light.
Broward College opened the program up a month ago, but so far no one has signed up for any of the 80 open slots. … [Broward College and Palm Beach State] have decided against offering discounts in nursing, one of the most popular high-demand degree fields.”
The article goes on to point out that Miami-Dade College has been able to integrate the degree programs into its American Dream initiative:
“The four-year degrees, which are expected to cost less than $8,000, are actually an extension of the college’s American Dream scholarship that gives free tuition and fees for two years to high performing Miami-Dade high school graduates. About 62 MDC freshmen have signed up”
Scott’s challenge initially was met with both support and skepticism—proponents viewed it as a worthy experiment and critics called it a gimmicky shell game.
As the Tampa Bay Times pointed out in a profile of St. Petersburg College’s $10,000 degree program, the pledge extends only to tuition:
“The $10,000 tab does not include the cost of books and materials, which can run over $1,000 a year. It doesn’t include meals and housing, which the University of South Florida estimates at nearly $9,000 a year.”
Two dozen of the qualifying colleges that offer baccalaureate degrees in the Florida College System signed on to the pledge. Only ten were ready to enroll students in $10,000 degree programs this fall:
- College of Central Florida
- Edison State College
- Gulf Coast State College
- Indian River State College
- Miami Dade College
- Northwest Florida State College
- Pensacola State College
- Polk State College
- Seminole State College
- St. Petersburg College