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Florida lawmakers push changes for higher education

@tbtia

Though the Legislature declared that Florida's community colleges cannot add any new four-year degree programs for a year, the moratorium likely won't do much in the long run to curb the popular programs.

The state Board of Education agreed to spend the next 14 months reconsidering how they approve programs. But it didn't commit to cutting back.

"We're very proud of our bachelor degree programs; we've had great success with them," said Randy Hanna, chancellor of the community college division.

The moratorium is one of numerous higher education measures the Legislature enacted, ranging from in-state tuition for veterans and undocumented immigrants to considering another engineering program. Some await Gov. Rick Scott's signature; some already have his backing.

Florida's public colleges, which traditionally did not go beyond two-year degrees, awarded 5,009 bachelor's degrees in 2012-2013, almost double the number from two years prior. The new four-year programs were supposed to focus on meeting the needs of local employers, not duplicate university offerings.

But now 24 colleges offer a total of 175 degree programs.

Sen. Joe Negron, the powerful budget chief, said the colleges are overstepping their bounds.

Read more here 

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Can't take anymore

Someone please remind King Joe that he is only temporarily a big shot. His days in the legislature are limited while the needs of local communities to offer educational opportunities to working students will be on going. Few can afford to quit work, move to one of the few cities with state universities or borrow the $100K necessary to finance a degree at one of the private universities. The convenience of getting one's degree while being able to live and work at home is only overshadowed by the spectre of taking out massive student loans to go the traditional route.

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