Rick Scott Creates Task Force on Reforming Florida's Universities

A week after vetoing a bill that would have allowed universities to seek unlimited tuition hikes as a means to bolster revenue for science, technology, engineering and math degrees, Gov. Rick Scott announced the formation of a blue ribbon task force on higher education reform.

Dale A. Brill, president of the Florida Chamber Foundation and a member of Florida State University’s faculty, will head the seven-member committee. Leaders of the Senate, House and Board of Governors will each select two members.

“The state has a vested interest in ensuring its higher education system produces world-class talent to serve as engaged citizens and meet the demands of Florida’s emerging knowledge-based economy,” Scott stated in a release. “It’s time to assess the progress of prior reform efforts and identify strategies to improve efficiencies and enhance the system’s effectiveness as an economic catalyst.”

In rejecting the higher tuition bill on May 27, Scott expressed concerns about increasing student debt and called on the state Board of Governors to review each of the state’s universities for further cost savings while at the same time developing a statewide plan with a clear and distinct mission plan for each university. Scott also announced that he would initiate a further review of higher education options.

The task force, which is to have its final recommendation ready by Oct. 31, is to focus on the State University System’s governance model, particularly the interaction between the Board of Governors and the individual universities, according to the release from the governor's office.

A webpage has been set up for the task force at: www.FLHigherEd.org

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