Hurting Our Colleges

Tuition Increases

After supporting numerous cuts to the education budget, Díaz de la Portilla felt that he should also make it more expensive for Florida’s students to go to college. Díaz de la Portilla voted to give Florida universities the ability to increase fees while also eliminating certain fees from the publicly supported payrolls, thereby passing them along to students.

HB 745, Vote #52, 5/2/08, Passed 38-2, Díaz de la Portilla – ‘Yea’

The exact fiscal impact is indeterminate. The bill may result in additional fee revenue for the state universities and community colleges, increased fees for certain students, and savings for some students. A tuition differential at University of Central Florida would generate approximately $500,000 to $745,000 in 2008-09; $3.6 million to $5.3 million in 2009-10; and $10.4 million to $15 million in 2010-11.

If Florida International University qualifies for a tuition differential in the near future, it would generate approximately $500,000 to $747,000 in 2008-09; $3.6 million to $5.4 million in 2009- 10; and $10.4 million to $15.2 million in 2010-11.

HB 745 Bill Analysis, 4/16/08

Bright Futures and Scholarships

In 2008, Díaz de la Portilla voted to eliminate the technology fee from Bright Futures Scholarship coverage, effectively passing that fee on to students. These two pieces of legislation let non-legislative bodies decide how Florida’s students will be taxed. If all student bodies involved decided to increase the fees the resulting tax increase would be in excess of $60 million recurring annually.

HB 1774, Vote #25, 5/1/08, Passed 39-0, Díaz de la Portilla –‘Yea’

The bill deletes the date that each university board of trustees is authorized to begin the assessment of a technology fee and requires that the establishment of the fee is contingent upon a referendum of the student body in which a majority of the students participating in the referendum vote to support the technology fee. The bill specifies that the community college technology fee shall no longer be a component part of tuition and that it is not covered by Bright Futures Scholarship Program; students would be required to pay the technology fee.

If all 11 universities assess the technology fee, the total potential revenue to the system is up to $37.3 million based on 2007-08 student credit hours provided by the Board of Governors.

HB 1774 Bill Analysis, 4/2/08