Board of Governors sticks to 12 percent tuition hike
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 21:07
FGCU students will face a tuition increase this year, but not as high of one as the Board of Trustees wanted.
The Board of Trustees approved a request for a 14 percent tuition hike at their meeting on June 19, but the Florida Board of Governors rejected the request on June 21 in favor of a 12 percent increase.
The Board of Trustees initially voted on approval of the maximum 15 percent tuition hike, but the vote was deadlocked at 6-6. Student body president Peter Cuderman changed his vote to an affirmative after the proposed increase was lowered by 1 percent, barely passing the request at a 7-5 margin.
President Wilson Bradshaw recommended the maximum tuition increase of 15 percent.
“Florida Gulf Coast University has sustained five consecutive years of cuts in state funding…The rubber band has stretched and stretched, but now we have found our self dangerously close to the breaking point where it comes to quality of education and access to FGCU,” Bradshaw said during the meeting.
Cuderman defied the tradition of student body presidents strictly opposing tuition increases.
“As far as employment, we’re going to lose; as far as education, if this doesn’t pass, we’re going to lose. Money is needed,” Cuderman said.
After two students and several faculty members spoke in favor of the 14 percent increase, Cuderman announced he would vote in the affirmative.
“Obviously, this is a tough position for myself to be in, serving two roles as the student body president and as a trustee,” Cuderman said.
But approval by the Board of Trustees was only one hurdle. The Florida Board of Governors only approved six of the tuition increases requested by 11 state universities and lowered the increases for other five, including FGCU.
FGCU’s requested increase of 14 percent was denied in favor of a 12 percent one, bringing the cost of a full course load at FGCU to $6,069.
The approved reduced increase equates to approximately $650,000 in lost revenue for FGCU in addition to a $3 million operating cut approved by the Florida Legislature.
FGCU had never had a tuition increase denied, and the Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting during which they decided to appeal the Board of Governors’ decision. This was another first, as no Florida university had ever appealed a tuition increase approval.
On June 29, a committee of the Florida Board of Governors rejected the appeal 6-6, keeping the 12 percent increase in place.
Gov. Rick Scott has spoken out against tuition increases for Florida universities.
“Tuition rates have risen 71 percent over the past four years and graduates are facing unprecedented levels of debt. We can’t continue on this path,” Scott said in a statement.