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News Clips 12/10/2012
EDITORIAL: Taking aim
Source: The Gainesville Sun, 12/7/12
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What Florida's state university presidents proposed to Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature on Wednesday was less a deal than a plea.
If the Legislature will partially restore lost funding for higher education, the presidents won't ask for a tuition increase this coming year.
On the heels of nearly half a dozen years of budget cuts — including $300 million this year alone — the presidents are asking for an increase of $118 million next year; hardly a king's ransom.
Even so, it's not much of a deal. All the presidents can do is ask; the politicians hold all the cards.
Or maybe not. What the presidents do have on their side is the power of persuasion, but only if they can make a convincing case that their institutions cannot much longer provide a quality education product under the twin pressures of continuing budget cuts and the cheapest tuition rates in America.
Enter "Aim Higher," a student-led initiative to turn public opinion in favor of more funding for the universities.
"We believe that Higher Education fuels and inspires students to a lifetime of learning, discovery and success thus providing Florida with a bright future," the campaign's website argues. "We believe a strong Higher Education system has the power to enhance the quality of life, Florida's overall economy, and brings opportunities to Florida when given the funds necessary...
"We aim to have Florida invest in Higher Education, thereby investing in the future of the state."
Scott and lawmakers need to hear from their constituents — parents, business people, employers, community leaders and the like — that investing in the future is a worthwhile investment of their tax dollars.
If Floridians can be persuaded to "Aim Higher," the politicians will follow their lead.