Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
Student Government leaders at the University of North Florida will hold an Aim Higher rally on campus at noon Monday, Jan. 14, on the Osprey Plaza at the Student Union, asking for a $118 million investment by Florida legislators for the State University System.
The Aim Higher initiative is a student-led campaign focused on uniting students and community leaders in supporting more funding for higher education and raising awareness of the universities’ strong returns on public investments.
Throughout the week, students at UNF and at all state university campuses across Florida will be signing Aim Higher postcards, urging lawmakers to invest in higher education. Student Government leaders will then deliver the postcards to state lawmakers in February.
“Students understand the impact a well-educated population will have on our state. Employers want more graduates, especially in certain fields. Education also has a multiplier effect across the entire state economy,” said UNF Student Government President Carlo Fassi. “Not only do our citizens become better prepared for a future in which we can’t afford to be undereducated, but our own institutions also provide billions of dollars in a positive annual economic impact for Florida.”
Although tuition at Florida’s public universities remains among the lowest in the country, students and their families have faced double-digit tuition increases in recent years as universities have coped with severe state budget cuts. Funding to the State University System has been cut nearly 40 percent during the past five years.
“There’s no question that we are the ninth lowest state in terms of tuition in the country, but fundamentally students are saying we don’t want to see it go up any more,” said UNF President John Delaney.
A state investment of $118 million would generate the revenue of a 15 percent tuition increase across the State University System this year. With that kind of investment, state university presidents have said they would be able to continue providing a quality education without raising tuition by one penny.
State funding, which once covered about three-fourths of the cost of a student’s higher education, now pays for less than half at most state universities. Florida’s public universities have a strong track record of spending tax and tuition dollars efficiently. As state funding has shrunk and enrollment has risen, universities have saved millions of dollars through cost-cutting efforts and the elimination or consolidation of academic programs.
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