Florida governor warns schools he will fight tuition hikes

Associated PressMay 25, 2013 

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott is strongly warning universities that he will fight against any tuition hikes this year.

Scott made the warning in a letter sent out Friday to the heads of the boards that oversee the state's 12 public universities.

He urged universityboards to join him in a "worthy battle" to keep tuition rates flat.

"I want to be clear on this: we absolutely will fight to hold the line on tuition in Florida," Scott writes. "This would be a tax increase on our families that must be stopped. We don't want a three percent increase or even a one percent increase in tuition on our students."

The letter could be seen as a prelude to a legal challenge that could draw in the Legislature.

The governor on Monday vetoed a 3 percent hike for the state's universities and colleges included in this year's budget that was worth nearly $50 million.

That hike was pushed primarily by the Florida House and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

The House initially approved a 6 percent hike, but agreed to the lower amount during budget negotiations with the Senate.

Weatherford argued in favor of the tuition hike by noting that the state is ranked 41st in the nation in tuition rates for university students.

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