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Students Speak out against Rick Scott's Higher Education Reform
FSU Progress Coalition will be out educating students about the Higher Education reforms proposed by Scott's Blue Ribbon Task Force. They will have a large display of Scott's face with a game incorporated, where students throw money into his mouth.
The BRTF considered whether public higher education is supporting the economic goals of the state, and concerned itself with reforms that maximize the return on investment for the State. Their report completely neglected February 2012 findings by the Board of Governors (BOG) showing the massive benefit that the SUS already is to Florida, contributing almost $80 billion to our GDP. This is a 20 to 1 return on state dollars invested.That is more that the current contribution from tourism in the state. Though this was found to be the case, the task force seems to assert that the only way the SUS could contribute to the state's economy is by following their recommendations. These recommendations involve measures of accountability and cost management. They suggest that funding be tied directly to these measures.
Their recommendations also involve control of the university system being handed over almost entirely to the BOG, including funding allocation, defining university mission and goals, and selecting university presidents. One issue with this is that the BOG are not elected officials, and are in no way accountable to the citizens of Florida. If budgetary control is not given to the BOG, the task force writes that the board can “hardly be expected to be responsible for any outcomes that result.”
Other recommendations include charging different majors different rates of tuition. This is a measure that students at FSU have rejected overwhelmingly, even when FSU president Eric Barron wanted similar tuition policy. Nowhere in the Task Force's recommendations are the urgent issues of state funding for universities discussed in a genuine manner. The recommendations are explicitly geared toward preempting funding shortfalls with tuition "flexibility"