Tuition increases at Florida's universities over the past few years have totaled between 45 and 60 percent, and now state University System Chancellor Frank Brogan is questioning how much higher can they go.
Brogan said he sees a "wind of change" sweeping Florida that's bringing a new perspective on ever-increasing tuition rates. He said people are rightly asking if big tuition hikes for students every year are sustainable.
Brogan said state operating funds for universities have dropped about 43 percent over the past five years, so schools have tried to make up for the lost cash by raising tuition. State law allows them to raise tuition up to 15 percent a year.
Brogan said tuition increases of 60 percent over the past few years are the bad news, but the good news is that Florida still offers some of the lowest in-state tuition rates in the nation.
"We're still ranked 45th in the United States," he said. "A full load of coursework is about $5,500 or $5,600 in Florida and you look at many states and it's $10,000 to $16,000 for that same load of coursework at public institutions. But be that as it may, that's hard sell to somebody who is seeing their tuition increase every year."
Brogan said more people are asking if big annual tuition hikes are sustainable.
"Even though we have the 45th lowest undergraduate in-state tuition in the United States, is it sustainable to simply continue to make up on the backs of students without any let-up?" he questioned.
Brogan appeared before the governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education on Monday.
That task force is meeting over the next few months to develop recommendations on how to reform higher education for the future.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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