Ed note: A previous version of this story listed Lisa Metcalf as the Assistant Director of Media Relations. She is the Director of Media Relations. The story has since been corrected.
Every year for the last four years, FAU’s tuition has risen the maximum amount – totaling a 60 percent increase.
For the first time in four years, FAU students might not see any tuition increase if the Florida legislature restores $118 million to the State University System of the $300 million it cut last year.
Yesterday, university and student body presidents from eight of Florida’s 12 public universities held a press conference in Tallahassee. It was the start of Aim Higher Florida, a student-run campaign to support increasing higher education funding.
Cortez Whatley is the UCF student body president and chair of the Florida Student Association, a group of student body presidents who represent more than 300,000 students in the Florida State University System. As the FSA chair, Whatley is a voting member of the Board of Governors (BOG), whose 17 members approve tuition rates for Florida’s universities.
In June, Whatley voted with the BOG to raise FAU’s tuition 15 percent – the maximum percent allowed.
“We need to keep a college education affordable and accessible for all,” Whatley said during the opening remarks of the press conference today.
FAU’s student body president Robert Huffman agrees.
“I support Aim Higher,” Huffman said. “It’s so crucial we get more funding from the state because if the state cuts our budget, it forces the universities to raise tuition, and students can’t afford to have their tuition continually increased.”
FAU president Mary Jane Saunders – who supported the tuition increases last year – was not at the Aim Higher press conference due to a prior commitment, according to Director of Media Relations Lisa Metcalf.
The UP contacted Saunders to find out if she supports the Aim Higher campaign, but she could not be reached as of publication time.
UWF president Judy Bense, who did attend the press conference, stood up for students paying rising tuition.
“They have paid the needed and necessary tuition increases, that is not a sustainable path for the long term,” Bense said. “The universities have eliminated and consolidated programs… We cannot continue to tighten our belts without impacting the quality of education.”