In November, 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott challenged the Florida College System; specifically, those colleges that offer four-year degrees, to offer some of those degrees for a total tuition cost of $10,000. As of January 29, 2013, all of the 23 member colleges of the Florida College System that offer four-year degrees have accepted the challenge.
The colleges in the Florida College System are: Brevard Community College, Broward College, Chipola College, College of Central Florida, Daytona State College, Edison State College, Florida Gateway College, Florida Keys Community College, Florida State College of Jacksonville, Gulf Coast State College, Hillsborough Community College, Indian River State College, Lake-Sumter State College, Miami Dade College, North Florida Community College, Northwest Florida State College, Palm Beach State College, Polk State College, Santa Fe College, Seminole State College of Florida, South Florida State College, St. Johns River State College, St. Petersburg College, State College of Florida, manatee-Sarasota, Tallahassee Community College, and Valencia College.
The idea of obtaining a four-year degree for $10,000 has been praised for drawing attention to college affordability. It has also been criticized as being limited in the degree choices resulting in a benefit to a small number of students, and doing little to address the overall cause of rising college tuition costs. Stipulations may accompany acceptance into degree programs offered under the $10,000 tuition cost such as; open to full-time students only, and only available to applicants with a high school GPA of 3.0 or better, out of 4.0.
The state average for a four-year degree at one of the Florida College System schools is approximately $13,000. The majority of colleges would have to create or redesign a curriculum to fit within the $10,000 tuition challenge. The degree programs would be in workforce fields such as; information technology, technology management, business and organization management, education and engineering technology.
Governor Rick Scott has said, “Higher education is key to helping our students succeed in the 21st century economy and to grow jobs in Florida. It is important our students can get an affordable education, and our state colleges have stepped up to the challenge to find ways to provide quality education at a great value.”
Joe Pickens, chairperson of the Council of Presidents of the Florida College Systems, has said, “To answer the governors challenge in a meaningful way is to survey the needs of the community we serve and come up with something that meets that need.”
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