From Public News Service
August 31. 2016
A decline in education funding means college students in Florida are facing higher tuition costs. (jzlomek/morguefile)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Over the last eight years, Florida has reduced its spending per student in higher education by about 22 percent.
And a new report from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says these kinds of cuts are having an impact on students’ potential for success.
In addition to cutting services, public universities in the state are raising tuition.
Michael Mitchell, senior policy analyst at the Center, says the high cost of college is putting a lid on what graduates can achieve post-college.
“High levels of debt, even with a diploma, can prohibit newly-graduated individuals from starting their own businesses and becoming entrepreneurs, which of course has implications not only for their own lives, but for the communities that they live in that would have benefited from having an additional entrepreneur,” he points out.
Overall, Florida’s reduction in state funding adds up to nearly $2,100 less each year per student, when adjusted for inflation.
Mitchell says while the funding increase in the last budget cycle helped, Florida’s public colleges are still left to figure out how to address the needs of their students, with fewer dollars.
“As states have made these cuts to higher education, schools have had to make decisions about increasing tuition, or they’ve had to cut their own campus budgets, which means that they’re providing fewer services, there are fewer extracurricular activities, class sizes may get larger,” he explains.
The report says nationwide, funding for two and four-year colleges is still $10 billion below what it was just prior to the recession, which forced many schools to raise tuition and cut faculty to find extra dollars.
In Florida, public college tuition has increased by nearly 65 percent in the last eight years – the fourth highest increase in the nation.