The student body presidents of Florida’s nine state universities travelled to Tallahassee this week to lobby for education funding and to share their thoughts on the quality of Florida’s public education system.
Meyer of FIU said it “really sends a message” that Florida has to ask for a waiver to get federal stimulus money because the state doesn’t spend enough on education. “That says something,” Meyer said.
Morgan of USF said Florida schools are slipping farther behind other states in quality. “We’re at a pivotal point,” Morgan said. “The students are really starting to worry about the worth of their degree.”
Hicks of FSU told Crist about a student-led program to raise $100,000 in small donations to give bonuses to good professors in hopes of preventing them from leaving. The program is called POP, for Protect our Professors.
Reilly of Palm Harbor thanked Crist for supporting a tuition hike of up to 15 percent at each school, and politely but firmly challenged Crist to stand firm in opposing any more higher education cuts.
“We ask you to take another bold stand,” Reilly said.
“We boldly go there,” Crist replied.
In a followup e-mail, Reilly said the proposed tuition increase is a step in the right direction but added: “The revenue it will generate is a drop in the bucket compared to the cuts that we have had to face over the past year and that we stand to face this session. Classes, programs and departments have been closed, faculty and staff have been laid off and many support services have either been scaled back or shut down altogether.”
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