Gov. Rick Scott put his pen to work Monday to keep college affordable in the Sunshine State. The governor made an appearance in Boca Raton at Florida Atlantic University Monday morning to ceremonially sign a law to keep college tuition and textbook costs low.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the state, you have a shot at a great education. It shouldn’t matter what family you came from. You live in this great state, and you have an opportunity," said Scott.
Scott originally signed the bill, HB 7019, which was sponsored by Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, and Rep. Elizabeth Porter, R-Lake City.
One of the bill’s main goals was to hold the line on graduate college tuition and make students’ college experiences more transparent.
The new law requires colleges and universities to inform students of the cost of textbooks before classes begin and would also require universities to adopt policies to make textbooks more affordable.
The Board of Governors and the State Board of Education will also be required to annually study and make recommendations on how the state can make college more affordable.
Per the new law, colleges and universities would be required to notify students at least 28 days before trustees plan to raise tuition or fees. Schools must also post an online list of books used in class at least 45 days before classes start.
Another provision of the bill requires the Board of Governors to evaluate cost-benefit analyses to help students get textbooks at the lowest available prices, including renting textbooks, buying digital textbooks or developing mechanisms to assist in buying, renting, selling and sharing textbooks.
“This bill gives students the ability to make informed decisions when choosing classes,” said Scott on the legislation. “It also makes higher education transparency and accountability a priority. We have to keep higher education affordable for our students.”
The bill was initially signed with 19 other bills last month.
Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said the bill was pivotal to ensure Florida kept college costs down for students.
“College affordability is one of our top priorities, where students can graduate with a quality education without being burdened with heavy debt,” he explained. “It’s important that colleges and universities provide the resources students need to completely understand the costs of classes and materials.”