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University Beat

USF Latest School to Use Inflation to Raise Tuition

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USF Communications & Marketing

While Governor Rick Scott vetoed a three percent tuition increase for the state's public universities, the University of South Florida is the latest school getting around that by using inflation to raise tuition for the coming school year.

During a conference call Monday, USF's Board of Trustees approved a new university regulation that boosts tuition for in-state undergraduate students by 1.7 percent, the rate of inflation.

Thanks to a 2007 law, Florida universities can increase tuition by an amount equal to the inflation rate, as specified by the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

According to the USF student newspaper, The Oracle, trustees Byron Shinn and Debbie Sembler voted against the tuition increase, but were outvoted by the rest of the board.

Trustee Stan Levy said the measure will allow USF to make up some of the revenue it lost from Scott’s 3 percent veto.   “I know Florida State and the University of Florida both received a lot of money by being labeled pre-eminent, which helps make up for not increasing tuition,” Levy said. “In order for us to stay competitive, hire the best and the brightest professors to take care of our students and to grow our university, I think it’s important that we get our tuition up to national standards.” Nancy Watkins said though she didn’t support tuition increases, she didn’t think the university could legally ignore the statute. “While the effect of this is a tuition increase, I’m not viewing this as a tuition increase,” she said. “I do not intend to vote to raise tuition, but I intend to vote to bring us in compliance with Florida statutes according to our legal advice.”

In May, Governor Scott vetoed a three percent tuition increase approved by state lawmakers. He asked the state's universities to reject using the inflation rate law this year, but both the University of Florida and Florida State University approved similar measures last week to apply the 1.7 percent inflation rate to tuition.

The University of North Florida, the University of West Florida and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) have also adopted measures using the rate.

The Florida Board of Governors begins three days of meetings on USF's Tampa campus today.