It’s interesting to see stories about the requests from at least a couple of Republican governors asking public institutions in their states to submit plans for students entering their schools that would cost no more than $10,000 in tuition to graduate after four years with a Bachelor’s Degree. Six schools in Texas have volunteered to meet the request, and four in Florida recently followed suit.
As the person who has consistently been attempting to convince the university systems and the colleges in Florida to minimize tuition increases, this is a fresh idea that’s being endorsed by at least some of the colleges in our state. One of the difficulties is that the efforts to offer college educations to low- and middle-income families were essentially defeated because of increases in tuition.
When I wrote the Stanley Tate Florida Prepaid College Program, it was designed explicitly for low- and middle-income families. That’s why the program allowed tuition rates to be paid on an installment basis, so that if a Prepaid College Program were purchased at the birth of a child, the cost of that child’s college tuition in a state college or university would be payable based upon the current tuition rates when the contract was purchased, over whatever timeframe was required, until that child turned 18. For a newborn, it was an 18-year-installment purchase and it became affordable.
Because of the increase in tuition rates, the cost of a college education in a university or college operated by the state has reached a level that has finally prohibited low- and moderate-income families from purchasing a Prepaid College Program. Based on the estimates I’ve been given, that represents approximately 35 percent of all of the families with children in Florida.
For the state and our politicians to have allowed this to happen is one of the greatest disgraces with which Florida has ever had to deal. There’s no one more pleased than myself to see the governor attempting to reduce the cost of a college education, so that it’s more affordable to a large percentage of our total population.
Stanley G. Tate, North Miami