FAU Trustees Approve Tuition Hike on Same Day Florida Gets Praise for Public Universities (Updated)

Update, 12:35 p.m.: Added comment from FAU President Mary Jane Saunders.

Yesterday, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce gave Florida's four-year colleges an 'A' grade on an extensive rubric that includes efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and student access.

Also yesterday: The trustees of Florida Atlantic University approved a 15-percent tuition hike, which would ratchet up the cost of in-state tuition from $5,483 to more than $6,100 if the state approves the hike tomorrow.

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"We did not ask for this reduction. This has been very, very painful," trustee Sherry Plymale told the Sun-Sentinel. "We're concerned with offering the best educational product, and there's no other way we can do that."

FAU is the ninth of Florida's public universities to go for a 15-percent hike. Despite the state legislature cut funding by $25 million, Gov. Rick Scott yesterday asked universities not to significantly raise tuition, because hey, who cares about actually paying for education.

The Florida "report card" released yesterday gives Florida high marks for both its two- and four-year institutions, and at the state level for the promotion of online learning.

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders has issued a long statement about the decision; I uploaded the whole thing if you're curious, but here are the highlights. Capitalization is hers:

"Over the past three months, Florida Atlantic University's dedicated staff and Board of Trustees have spent countless hours seeking ways to absorb the $24 million budget cut that the University faces in the year ahead... I am confident that we have chosen the most effective way to handle this drastic cut. Despite repeated reductions of FAU's state funding in recent years, we have been able to add programs and services that have increased the University's value to its students and the community at large...

"Even with the increase, tuition rates at FAU and Florida's other public universities will remain among the lowest in the country... This is a difficult and trying period in FAU's history, but the University will continue to pursue the multi-faceted mission that it embarked upon a half-century ago."

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