Gov. Scott Pushes for Low Cost College Degrees
November 27, 2012 | WMFE- Governor Rick Scott is challenging Florida's community colleges to offer a bachelor's degree for $10,000 dollars or less. The governor announced the statewide challenge Monday morning at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater and continued to promote the initiative at the Lake Nona campus of Valencia College in the afternoon.
Scott says the program will help students afford college and will boost the state’s economy.
“What that does is it helps companies train their workers and makes sure those companies end up in Florida.” Scott said. “It’s all to get more jobs for Floridians.”
Valencia College already offers several bachelor’s degrees but the total cost is considerably higher than the cap suggested by the governor.
Most of Florida's bachelor's degrees are awarded by the state's 12 public universities. The average four-year tuition at one of those universities is about $24,000.
Scott says Florida’s students need an alternative with tuition low enough to graduate without going deeply into debt.
Randy Hannah, chancellor of the Florida College System, says it’s a challenge he thinks the state’s colleges can meet and he says it will lead to more students being able to afford to go to college.
“We have a number of students in our system who are not eligible for Bright Futures and who are not eligible for financial aid.” Hannah said. “We have a number of our students who rely on either federal loans or loans from private parties or parents to be able to go to school.”
Several other states are already trying similar programs as a way to control tuition costs, help more students get a degree and find high paying jobs.
Scott says the colleges should work to develop low cost degree programs in fields with a demonstrated need for skilled workers.
Several colleges including Valencia, Seminole State College and Daytona State College have already accepted the governor’s challenge and say they will work to develop the new low-cost degree programs.