They came from Tampa, Orlando, Miami and beyond - all of them armed with tuition bills higher than ever before.
If there's one thing these students are determined to avoid, it's another increase, but lawmakers and university system leaders say it's key to improving the quality of education.
"The way we're going to get better probably includes increasing tuition."
We asked University of South Florida senior Corey Uhl if he's noticed any on-campus improvement from a 50 percent jump in tuition over the past five years.
"No. I'd say absolutely not," Uhl said. "We see larger class sizes, a less-engaged faculty, just 'cause they don't have the time or the resources to handle all the students."
Senate President Mike Haridopolos thinks campuses need more funding and says raising tuition another 15 percent isn't too much to ask.
"Florida has the fifth lowest tuition in the United States today. Keep it that way!"
In the end, Florida State junior Michael Sampson worries he'll be paying a whole lot more and getting a lot less in return.
"I use the example of him stealing our car and giving us a tire back."
It's true state funding for education has dropped by $521 million over the past five years. The tuition increases don't even make up for a drop that big.
By law, the legislature can increase tuition by 8 percent a year. Campuses can ask permission for additional increases.