A University of Florida classroom (Pic by cdsessums)

The Florida Board of Governors completed a two-day session in Gainesville yesterday, approving a regulation that will pave the way for state universities to begin charging students block tuition, a flat fee analogous to 15 credits for full-time students — regardless of how many courses they enroll in.

The University of Florida will go before their board of trustees to seek approval on their proposal to institute the new system, which will then seek final approval from the Board of Governors at their next meeting in January.

University spokesman Steve Orlando tells The Florida Independent that currently UF is the only state school currently seeking to implement block tuition.

“Technically it would allow other universities to do it, but they would have to each bring their own proposal to get approval,” he says. “At this point we’re the only ones who’ve expressed an interest in it to my knowledge.”

Orlando noted that part-time students, those whose course load falls below 12 credit hours, will be unaffected should their proposal move forward next year. They would continue to pay per hour, while full-time students would be charged a flat fee based on the cost of 15 credit hours, regardless of how many hours above 12 they took.

“It’s about providing more access,” Orlando says. “What we’re trying to do is encourage students to graduate in a more timely way so that their younger brothers or sisters or cousins can come in and get their education at the University of Florida.”

When asked how students who also work full- or part-time while attending school, making them less likely to take advantage of the new system, will be affected, Orlando claims that the university currently puts its working student body at around 16 percent, and provides about $750 million in financial aid every year for those who need assistance.

The board, which is the state university system’s highest governing body, also discussed charging market-rate tuition for distance-education graduate students and agreed to take up the issue in January.

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