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FL College Students and FDP Chair Smith Condemn GOP Cuts to Higher Education Which Have Caused Tuition To Spike

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TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith today joined with Presidents of the Florida College Democrats from universities across the state to condemn the Republican's cuts to higher education which have caused tuition to rise for middle class families and students. In 2012, Republicans in Tallahassee voted to cut higher education by $300 million, forcing students to face tuition increases, while simultaneously raising tuition on college students by 5-percent. 

On Monday, the Florida Democratic Party announced that it would begin distributing flyers with information about the GOP's cuts to higher education on college and university campuses across the state, and tomorrow  college and university students will hold a news-conference with FDP Chair Smith and Senator Bob Graham in Tallahassee to discuss the GOP's record of draining money from public education. Statements and background below:  

STATEMENT FROM ROD SMITH, CHAIRMAN OF THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY

"Governor Rick Scott and the Republican legislature drained millions of dollars from our colleges and universities — forcing tuition to rise for students while recklessly spending our tax dollars on handouts to corporate special interests. Higher education is the pathway to success, and it is the ladder of opportunity for millions of hardworking Floridians. But sadly, the GOP is yanking this ladder out from under us, making it harder for millions of Floridians to afford college and university. Our parents, students and teachers have not forgotten the reckless assault the GOP led on on our state's education system, and in November millions of Floridians will reject these misplaced priorities that are hurting our state at the ballot box." 

STATEMENT FROM KATE BARNEKOW, PRESIDENT OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE DEMOCRATS:

"For thousands of students in Orlando and Central Florida, the Republican's cuts to higher education have made going to college increasingly difficult and unaffordable. And while there always seems to be enough tax dollars to give another hand out to corporate special interests and lobbyists in Tallahassee, the GOP has tried to pay for these give-aways on the backs of college students. These are the wrong priorities for middle class families, the wrong priorities for our students, and the wrong priorities for our state."   

STATEMENT FROM COLTON CANTON, PRESIDENT OF THE USF COLLEGE DEMOCRATS

"Republicans have spiked tuition in the Tampa area and across the state, making higher education — the pathway to our state's economic growth — increasingly unaffordable for millions of students like me. Instead of investing in our colleges and universities, Rick Scott and the GOP have drained 300 million dollars from our state's higher education system — but still found plenty of money for reckless pork barrel spending and special interest giveaways. We haven't forgotten the assault that the GOP has led on our education system, which is why USF college Dems are excited and energized to elect Democrats up and down the ticket in November." 

STATEMENT FROM LEO CURIEL, PRESIDENT OF THE FIU COLLEGE DEMOCRATS

"Republicans like Rick Scott say they care about our state's education — but that didn't stop them from cutting $300 million from our university system, forcing tuition to rise while they raised the cost of college for students by 5-percent. The tuition increases caused by the GOP cuts have real consequences: more and more of my friends are being forced to take on more and more debt just to get through school — a reckless cycle that hurts Florida's middle class and will hamper the economic success of our state. When Florida Republicans say one thing — but do the exact opposite on education — it's hard to trust them with our state's future." 

STATEMENT FROM MATTY BUDESA, PRESIDENT OF THE FSU COLLEGE DEMOCRATS

"Here in Tallahassee, we've seen up close how the Republican's policies are hurting Florida's students. The GOP has cut hundreds of millions of dollars from  Florida's universities — causing tuition to spike and hurting my fellow students who are working hard to put themselves through school. Florida students have not forgotten who is behind their skyrocketing tuition, and we know that we simply cannot afford four more years of Republican control. That's why we are committed to do all we can to send Democrats to the state legislature so that our state government will finally put Florida's middle class families and students ahead of the corporate special interests who control Tallahassee." 

BACKGROUND: 

In 2012, Republicans cut $300 million for higher education and universities. “The House and Senate have agreed to cut universities by $300 million” [Palm Beach Post ,3/1/2012]

Republicans forced students to face tuition increases. “Students still could face double-digit tuition increases while schools will spend less to educate them” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/7/2012]; “’We are being put in a position of having no choice but to raise tuition,’ Ramil said” [WUSF, 3/1/2012

UCF Trustees made clear that state budget cuts to higher education were prompting tuition increases.  “UCF trustees reluctantly approved tuition increases in May while making it clear that they are concerned about repeated state budget cuts to higher education” [UCF Board of Governors,6/21/12

At Gulf Coast University, "Students sign petition protesting education cuts." Florida Gulf Coast University students say they are fed up with the years of state funding cuts to education and they are taking action. Students have started a petition denouncing the $3.6 million in cuts. Students this school year will spend less time inside Florida Gulf Coast University's library, and not because they choose to. The university says it can no longer afford to keep the campus building open late at night or on Saturday…'The state really needs to invest more, not less in higher education and make that affordable   and have access for more, not fewer students,' said Bradshaw. [ABC 7, 9/20/12

All public Florida universities will see tuition increases between 9% and 15%. The hikes come as Florida’s public universities are hit by $300-million dollars in state funding cuts [ABC, 6/21/12

In 2012, Republican's budget raised tuition on college students by 5-percent. “It includes a 5 percent tuition increase for Florida college students” [Gainesville Sun, 3/5/12]

Republicans like Rick Scott said education would be a priority. “I’d like to focus on what I believe are the three most important jobs I have… two, securing the right of every Floridian to a quality education” [Gov. Scott’s “State of the State,” 1/9/2012]

But Scott and Republicans puts corporate special interests over middle class families.“The proposed 2012-13 budget…is a study in pork-barrel spending, reckless policy and a shortchanged future.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/7/2012]

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