Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 01/23/2013
Edison pursues offering $10,000 degree
Source: Fort Myers News-Press, 01/22/13
View Original Article
By Dave Breitenstein
Edison State College has accepted the governor’s challenge to try creating a $10,000 baccalaureate degree program, a price point that would represent a $3,000 break from the standard tuition rate.
“We are in,” Edison President Jeff Allbritten declared Tuesday.
Gov. Rick Scott challenged Florida institutions to set a low tuition rate in high-demand fields with strong job prospects. Edison is the 13 community or state college to express a firm interest in offering a $10,000 degree.
Allbritten said the only academic program under consideration at Edison is a bachelor’s in secondary education that focuses on science instruction. Before Edison could consider dropping tuition, however, it would need to identify alternative sources of funding. Allbritten said the college won’t trim quality to trim tuition, so Edison could ask for financial assistance from the state, Edison State College Foundation or area business partners.
If the numbers don’t crunch, then Edison won’t complete the challenge, he said.
“It may not be attainable, but golly, we sure can try,” said Marjorie Starnes-Bilotti, chairwoman of Edison’s Board of Trustees.
By comparison, a teaching degree at a state university would cost about $25,000. Figures do not include other expenses such as textbooks or housing.
Allbritten said Florida’s higher education chancellor wanted an answer from colleges prior to the spring legislative session, when lawmakers could discuss tuition proposals and other sources of education funding.
When Scott issued the $10,000 degree challenge two months ago, he did so with hopes that lower tuition would encourage more students to complete four-year degrees without digging as heavily into debt. Targeted degree programs include information technology, business and organization management, education and engineering technology.
Edison State offers 10 workforce-oriented baccalaureate degrees, but secondary education-science was selected based on projected employment needs of Southwest Florida school districts. There is a statewide shortage of science teachers.
“It’s a great incentivization tool to stimulate the economy,” Allbritten said.
Edison State sophomore Steven Peter, 20, said it’s a good idea for colleges to lower tuition rates in certain fields. He’s using a combination of the Florida Prepaid College Plan, scholarships and financial assistance from his family to pay tuition, and hopes he can avoid taking out loans to complete his education.
“I don’t like getting into debt for school,” said Peter, a criminal justice major from Port Charlotte.