KELCI PASCOE – The Corsair
One of the most important issues for many voters is always government spending. Rick Scott, who was recently elected to Florida state governor, has made government spending one of his top priorities.
Scott intends to cut down on government spending drastically, starting with education.
Being that Rick Scott was just recently elected, not much has yet been heard about what areas of education will be cut first or when these cuts will come into effect.
Something that many people may not know is that it isn’t Scott who will be directly making these cuts.
Larry Bracken, Pensacola State College executive director for government relations said, “It is actually the legislation that makes all of the budget cuts, not Rick Scott. He can propose his plans for cuts to the legislation and will have final veto power, however, the Revenue Estimating Conference will be the ones actually making the cuts.”
Much of Pensacola State’s funding comes from the state of Florida.
Bracken said, “About 65 percent of the money the college uses comes from the state and about 33 percent comes from student tuition. This money is used to pay the lobbyists, professors and other staff, utility costs, and maintenance of the college.”
Although many complaints about the cost of tuition are made on a routine basis, Florida is one of the least costly states to attend either a college or university.
“Florida tuition is actually very low compared to other states, such as Alabama or Mississippi. It really is a bargain to attend a school here,” Bracken said.
However, the relatively low cost of tuition in Florida isn’t going to last for much longer.
“Tuition goes up every single year that a student is going to be in college, whether you are attending PSC, UWF, UF, or any other major Florida school. The goal is to raise Florida tuition to the national average cost of tuition,” Bracken said.
These budget cuts on education will most likely help speed up the rising costs of tuition.
“We are about to lose the federal stimulus and the money from it at the end of the year and that will most definitely contribute to the rising costs of education,” Bracken said.
Senator-Elect David Simmons, who previously served in the House of Representatives, commented in an interview with Sun Sentinel about Scott’s plans for spending. “We’ll try to live within our means and at the same time try to assure education is given a top priority,” Simmons said.
Senator Evelyn Lynn, a former Volusia school administrator deeply involved in education issues, told the Sun Sentinel, “Certainly we want to reduce taxes, but we don’t want to hurt the education system.”
Pensacola State students will most likely see their cost of tuition rise within the upcoming semesters.
“I don’t support cuts in education, however, I do have to be realistic about them,” Bracken said. “My advice to students is to get your degree and get out of college as soon as you can, because the cost of tuition for Florida colleges and universities is only going to steadily go up each semester.”