Students Protest FL Tuition Hikes

The leaders of Florida's State University system met in Tallahassee Thursday to talk about the challenges facing higher education.

But, before they could even make it in the door, they were met by some very upset students.

They want a better deal, both in what they pay for tuition and in how they're represented.
In many ways, what's happening here is a whole new kind of 'occupy' movement focused on making education a right, not a privilege.

A message to Florida's University Presidents, the students they serve are anything but happy.

When do we want it? Now!

They want more of a voice on the board of governors. A group they've come to picket for going along with a 51 percent hike in tuition over the past five years.

Florida State Senior Michael Sampson's also laying blame at the hands of the governor for not finding ways to avoid making college more expensive.

"Governor Scott said he wants to cut corporate taxes to, maybe, zero percent by the time he leaves his office. Stuff like that is very detrimental to students, to working people, in this country."

To hear it from these students, it's another example of inequality giving the big guys a break and making the little guy pay more.

Not that university system Chancellor Frank Brogan disagrees.

"It was great to have the opportunity to look those students in the eye this morning."

But right now, in a tough economy, he says there's no way around a tough choice.

"We don't like raising tuition. Not one person likes raising tuition, but without that increase in tuition, what we're facing are holes in services: less faculty, less sections in coursework, less services provided to students. It's a Hobson's choice," says Brogan.

The students united will never be defeated!

In the end, the concern here isn't so much about a hole in services but a hole in their wallets when they graduate.

Matter of fact, the students will be here again next week to picket lawmakers, who approved hiking tuition last year and may well do so again before they head home from their annual session.

The law allowing the annual tuition increases was approved by the legislature in 2007.
But, to trigger the hikes, lawmakers and the governor still have to give the ok.


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