DeSantis greenlights $75 million for UF Jacksonville campus

by | May 8, 2024

Governor Ron DeSantis announced a $75 million state budget allocation for a new University of Florida graduate facility in Jacksonville.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that he will approve a $75 million allocation in the state budget for a new graduate facility for the University of Florida in Jacksonville.

As first reported by Jax Today, the university will initially offer nine master’s degrees, including programs in management in artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence and analytics, engineering management in data analytics, computer science in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and Legal studies.

“I can also say in the upcoming budgets with respect to University of Florida, I am approving $75 million for a new campus in Jacksonville, which is going to be really significant,” DeSantis said during a Wednesday morning press conference.

UF and the City of Jacksonville announced a partnership in 2023 to “explore the creation of a new graduate campus in the city” after plans to construct a satellite location in West Palm Beach were scrapped. While details have been relatively sparse, the Jacksonville campus plans to focus on Master’s and Doctoral programs in medicine, engineering, and business.

“We are excited about the possibility of hosting this University of Florida expansion to foster opportunity, a talent pipeline, and further grow our region’s industry,” said then-Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

Last year, the Jacksonville City Council approved a motion to allocate $50 million across the next three years to support the development of the graduate campus, bolstering the university’s presence in the region.

With a 16 to 1 vote, the measure received near-unanimous support from the council, authorizing the allocation of $20 million towards future expenditures including planning, design, and other ancillary costs. City Council documents show that the remaining $30 million will require approval from its legislative body before being dispersed to UF across the next two years.

The project is estimated to have an aggregate cost of $100 million over a three-year period and the grant will be disbursed on an annual basis to the UF Board of Trustees. The establishment of the satellite campus is expected to have a strong economic impact on Jacksonville through the creation of high-paying jobs and the development of a graduate education pool.

The City of Jacksonville will contribute no more than 50 percent of the establishment costs up to $50,000,000 over three years, with city funds being contributed on a pro-rata basis with other university-identified funds. JEA, the largest community-owned utility company in Florida, pledged $10 million in financial contributions to the new campus.

As developments progress, city and university officials plan to coordinate with industry leaders in Jacksonville to determine which educational subject areas would best satisfy the critical needs of the local workforce.

UF Health in Jacksonville, the university’s current satellite facility in the city, offers specialized and subspecialty graduate medical education programs. The new graduate campus would be designed to complement these programs and provide additional resources for students and professionals seeking advanced degrees in medicine, engineering, and business.


%d bloggers like this: