Gov. Rick Scott is using President Barack Obama's comments today on college costs to both criticize the president and tout the governor's own higher ed initiatives.
The title of the press release says it all: "President Obama is late to the party on making higher education more affordable, but we're glad he's here."
Obama spent the day talking up a new proposal to rate colleges based on affordability metrics like student debt, graduation rates and the kinds of salaries they earn after receiving a degree. The Board of Governors, which oversees Florida's public universities, is in the process of finalizing a performance funding initiative that will rely on some of these same indicators.
Obama also wants to increase a program that caps loan debt for students from poor families, and he proposes tying student financial aid to their academic progress. As he completed a bus tour of three college campuses, Scott issued his press release that mentioned some of the other things underway here in Florida.
Here is Scott's full press release:
“President Obama announced today that he wants to improve the value of higher education by rewarding colleges and universities on their performance and affordability. The President is certainly late to the party on making higher education more affordable, but we are glad he’s here. We encourage him to look at the reforms we have made here in Florida to hold the line on tuition and reward colleges and universities who are able to graduate students with a great job and without debilitating debt because of the high cost of tuition. Florida is a national model in making higher education more affordable.
“The President said he wanted to encourage more competition in higher education to make degrees more affordable. In Florida, we held a competition encouraging our state colleges to craft a bachelor’s degree program for only $10,000. In just a short amount of time, every Florida college offering a bachelor’s degree crafted a degree program for only $10,000 in a high-demand job field.
“We are focused on improving the value of higher education for students and parents by fighting tuition hikes and rewarding schools that graduate students who get jobs. Just this year, we passed a budget that included $20 million in performance funding for universities tied to graduates who find jobs, the salary of those jobs, and the cost of their degree. Florida is taking the lead in making higher education more affordable and the nation is starting to follow.”