University board shoots down fee increase
TAMPA - After another push from Gov. Rick Scott to hold the line on tuition, the state university system's Board of Governors on Thursday killed an attempt by most schools to boost a student-paid construction fee.That will result in savings of about $40 this fall from the latest tuition proposal from the University of South Florida. Final tuition numbers had not been formally compiled Thursday, but prior to the board's action, USF was proposing tuition and fees of $6,446 this fall for in-state undergraduates.After years of cutbacks, lawmakers pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into higher education during this year's budget process, and Scott often repeated his disdain for higher tuition. He vetoed the 3 percent increase called for by the Legislature, and on Wednesday, he targeted student fees that came before the board of governors."While I am incredibly appreciative of the progress we have made, it is equally important that we remain vigilant on increases in fees paid by our students and our families," he said in a letter to the board.On Thursday, the board voted down Capital Improvement Fee increases at the nine universities that had requested them. At USF, the fee will remain at $6.76 per credit hour, instead of the $8 originally sought.Other fees approved by USF's local board of trustees will stand, such as those for health and activities.The savings as a result of Thursday's action will be greater at the USF St. Petersburg campus, which had sought a $2 increase in its capital improvement fee. Students there should see $60 erased from the campus's tuition estimate of $5,881. The move won't affect students at Sarasota-Manatee, where there was no increase proposed in the capital improvement fee, and tuition is projected at $5,588.