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Rick Scott Tries to Have it Both Ways on Tuition

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Governor now claims he has "consistently fought tuition increases," but has approved double-digit hikes 

Tallahassee, FL — Yesterday evening, Governor Rick Scott issued a statement on college tuition at FSU and UF in which he said, "I have consistently fought tuition increases."

Rick Scott is blatantly distorting his record. If anything, Scott has "consistently" signed tuition increases into law. The fact is that in 2011, Rick Scott's budget included an 8% tuition rise, costing students about $50 million more. In 2012, Scott approved an additional 5% tuition hike.

In fact, Rick Scott has never been a pro-education governor. In 2011, Scott cut funding for Bright Futures scholarships by 20%, depriving thousands of middle class Florida students of money for college. Then in 2012, Scott cut more than $300 million from Florida's universities, which necessitated skyrocketing tuition rates.

"Rick Scott's claim that he 'consistently fought' for lower tuition is absurd. The fact is that Rick Scott's newly-discovered passion for education smacks of political opportunism," said FDP spokesman Joshua Karp. "This Governor has cut millions from higher education, has cut essential scholarships, and has repeatedly raised tuition. If there's a bright side here, it's that Floridians will see right through these electioneering gimmicks, because they've been paying Rick Scott's higher tuition costs for two years."

Rick Scott must answer for his clear distortion of his record. He is distorting his record of consistently approving for tuition increases to further his chance for reelection.

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Background

Scott Cut University Funding by $300 Million in 2012. “State government's contribution to the cost of a college education has been steadily shrinking -- system-wide, universities this year absorbed a $300 million cut in the budget approved by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.” [Miami Herald, 6/21/12]

Scott Approved Hiking Tuition 13% in His First Two Years. "While Scott proudly vetoed a 3 percent tuition hike last month, his 2011 budget included an 8 percent hike for students, at a cost of roughly $50 million. Scott also approved a 5 percent tuition increase for state colleges in 2012, saying that "colleges remain best positioned to weigh the needs of their institutions against the burden of increased student costs." [Tampa Bay Times, 5/31/13]

Rick Scott Signed 20% Drop in Bright Futures Scholarships Into Law. "Florida students seeking college degrees during these difficult economic times now face a 20 percent drop in Bright Futures scholarship money and predicted tuition hikes. Budget cuts passed by the Legislature earlier this month and approved by Gov. Rick Scott last week slashed the amount students can receive from Bright Futures, a lottery-funded scholarship program. The average award last year at four-year public universities was about $5,000. The decrease likely will average about $500 less next year." [The Ledger, 5/28/11]