Florida Higher Ed Board Approves Limits on Freshmen Enrollment

MIAMI
The Board of Governors on Tuesday instituted a three-year
freeze on freshmen enrollment at the funded level, meaning they will not
increase the number of freshmen admitted to public universities.

With looming budget cuts and a 5 percent tuition veto,
university officials said they fear the quality of education is being
compromised. If students continue to flood the schools, they won’t have access
to advisers or the classes they need to graduate, said State University System
Chancellor Mark B. Rosenberg.

“We have stretched the rubber band as far as we can
stretch it. If we continue to place a premium on access and not graduation, we
will be able to get the students in but not out,” Rosenberg
said.

The freeze, effective spring 2008, does not affect upper-division
enrollment and community college transfers.

The board, which met at the University
of Central Florida in Orlando,
also approved a tuition hike. The unspecified raise also will take effect
spring 2008 and will not exceed 5 percent.

The State University System includes 11 institutions and
300,000 students.

Rosenberg said
current funding is roughly 60 cents on the dollar, meaning there are 5,627
students enrolled for which they don’t receive basic state support.

Consequently, the board said the State University System has
the worst student-faculty ratio in the nation.

Senate President Ken Pruitt said he was disappointed with
the board’s decision and promised a court battle.

“The Constitution clearly does not give the Board of
Governors the authority to set tuition. It’s the duty of the Legislature,”
he said in a statement. “Mark my word; we are going to fight to make sure
the American dream of higher education is affordable for all students.”

The board also decided to join a lawsuit filed by former
Gov. Bob Graham, which asks the court to determine whether the Legislature or
the Board of Governors holds authority to set tuition rates.

Graham’s lawsuit argues the authority lies with the Board of
Governors.

– Associated Press



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