The 2017 Florida Legislative session is underway, and higher education remains a high priority for policymakers two weeks into the 60-day session. Which bills are poised to impact college readiness, access and completion? Here are some of the top issues that stand to affect college students:
First, the budget: There is $83.5 billion in the state’s budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. While this is slightly higher than the previous year, predicted budget shortfalls of $1.3 billion in 2018 and $1.9 billion in 2019 have made lawmakers cautious about future spending plans. Given that about a quarter of the state’s appropriations are on K-12 and higher ed, spending proposals for education will be highly scrutinized during the current session and beyond.
Affordability: Making college more affordable for Florida students and families remains a prominent policy issue for state lawmakers, including Governor Rick Scott. Tuition at Florida public colleges and universities have stayed the same over the past four years, and this year, plans to reform state financial aid and tuition policies have emerged.