Out-of-state tuition hikes could be coming to Florida universities

by | Jun 19, 2023



  • The Florida State University System’s Board of Governors (BOG) will decide on allowing public universities to increase out-of-state tuition fees by up to 15%.
  • The presidents of all 12 member schools have sent a letter to the BOG Chair, requesting the increase due to rising enrollment demands and market conditions.
  • The presidents also propose granting each university’s Board of Trustees the authority to determine proprietary tuition models based on their individual markets, competitive environments, and strategic plans.
  • Florida universities currently charge varying amounts for out-of-state fees, with the last increase occurring in 2012. The average out-of-state fee per credit hour is $491.90 for undergraduates and $628.17 for graduates.

The Florida State University System’s Board of Governors (BOG) will decide on allowing public universities to increase out-of-state tuition fees at its upcoming meeting later this week.

In a letter to BOG Chair Brian Lamb, the Presidents of all 12 member schools cite rising enrollment demands and market conditions as the rationale behind the request, which would see tuition costs spike by as much as 15 percent for out-of-state students.

A secondary request sees the presidents collectively propose that each university’s Board of Trustees be granted the authority to determine proprietary tuition models based on their individual markets, competitive environments, and strategic plans.

“The undersigned – all 12 SUS presidents and board chairs – respectfully suggest that this is the right time to evaluate aspects of the system’s out-of-state tuition and fee models and consider a more market-based approach,” reads the letter. “We … suggest that you establish a process to consider whether Florida’s universities could take into account market forces, the costs to deliver services, and other factors when setting tuition and fee levels for out-of-state students at all levels.”

Different universities within the State University System charge varying amounts for the out-of-state fee per credit hour. The last fee increase occurred in 2012, though only two universities raised their fees, with some universities not increasing out-of-state fees since 2004.

For undergraduate students, the University of South Florida (USF) has the lowest out-of-state fee per credit hour at $346.50, while the University of Florida has the highest at $707.21. USF also has the lowest fee for graduate students at $424.52, while Florida Gulf Coast University has the highest at $883.13.

The average out-of-state fee per credit hour across all universities is $491.90 for undergraduates and $628.17 for graduates.

During a Board of Governors meeting last year, former Chairman Alan Levine noted that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree decreased for all 12 state institutions for the fourth year in a row, coinciding with improved four-year graduation rates across the board.

“If we’re talking to the Legislature, this is what you look at when you talk about a return on investment,” said Levine. “Because the efficiency of throughput creates much more access for students.”

Earlier this year, the State University System reported a 12 percent five-year increase in graduation rates alongside a 49 percent year-over-year drop in the overall cost of earning a bachelor’s degree.

For the 2022-23 academic year, average in-state tuition costs at Florida universities are the lowest in the nation, according to state data — nearly $5,000 cheaper than the national average of $11,103.

Additional state data shows that 75 percent of resident undergraduate students graduated without student loans in the 2020-21 academic year, an uptick from 69 percent the previous year.

Moreover, once financial aid is applied, the State University System reports that the average cost of a degree is $1,550. The figure is a nearly 50 percent decrease compared to the year prior, and $12,210 lower in cost than the same statistic from the 2016-17 academic year.

The request comes just a month after the state secured the top spot in the U.S. News & World Report’s nationwide higher education rankings for the seventh consecutive year, having topped the publication’s list each year since its inception in 2017.

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