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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

The State Has Several Options Available When Considering the Funding of Higher Education, Report No. 04-54, August 2004
Full report in PDF format

This report analyzes four alternatives described below for funding state higher education that have been recently discussed by Florida policymakers or have been implemented in other states.
  • Tuition flexibility among institutions - The Legislature could grant universities flexibility to increase their tuition to provide funding to help cover enrollment growth and increased operational costs or to reduce tuition to attract more students. 
  • Tuition variability within institutions – The Legislature or higher education institutions could charge variable tuition rates to better reflect the costs of different academic programs.  Tuition could also be varied based on student academic choices, personal characteristics, or behavior.
  • Block tuition – The Legislature or higher education institutions could charge full-time students tuition based on a block rate for 12 to 18 credits rather than by credit hour.  This could provide a financial incentive for students to take more credits each semester.  However, the effect of block tuition on student behavior is uncertain. 
  • Higher education vouchers – The Legislature could provide vouchers to allocate state funding directly to students rather than to institutions.  Some proponents believe voucher programs would improve the efficiency of the higher education system, while some opponents believe voucher programs could create perverse incentives for institutions to attract students by making classes less challenging.  However, since no state has implemented a voucher program, vouchers’ effects are uncertain.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

State University System
Florida Prepaid College Board
Student Financial Assistance
Board of Governors
Florida College System

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 06-75 Progress Report: Legislature Has Clarified Authority for Implementing Changes to Setting Higher Education Tuition and Fees, published in December 2006.
  • Report No. 06-57 Progress Report: Legislature Increases FRAG Awards; Residency Determination Rules Improved, published in August 2006.
  • Report No. 04-23 Program Review: Most Bright Futures Scholars Perform Well and Remain Enrolled in College, published in March 2004.
  • Report No. 04-12 Information Brief: Florida Universities’ Tuition and Fees Slightly Below Peers, But All Costs Consume a Higher Percentage of Family Median Income, published in February 2004.
  • Report No. 03-70 Justification Review: Private Colleges and Universities Program—Department of Education, published in December 2003.
  • Report No. 03-47 Information Brief: Compilation of College Affordability Data for Students Who Applied for Federal Aid, published in August 2003.
  • Report No. 03-33 Information Brief: College Attendance Costs Vary and Result From Higher Tuition, Room, and Board, published in June 2003.
  • Report No. 03-31 Information Brief: Voluntary Bright Futures Scholarship Testing Program Would Reduce Costs, published in April 2003.
  • Report No. 03-22 Special Review: Florida Prepaid College Program Is Fiscally Sound; Numerous Options Exist for Mitigating Effects of Large, Sustained Long-Term Tuition Increases, published in March 2003.
  • Report No. 03-17 Program Review: Bright Futures Contributes to Improved College Preparation, Affordability, and Enrollment, published in February 2003.
  • Report No. 03-16 Justification Review: Office of Student Financial Assistance Generally Performs Well, But Performance Measurement and Default Prevention Should Be Improved, published in February 2003.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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