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State University Board of Governors discuss 2018 budget, praise ‘remarkable progress’

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Thursday, Florida’s University System Board of Governors reviewed its legislative budget requests for the 2018-19 fiscal year which will be sent for consideration by the governor and the Legislature.

LobbyTools reports that requests for performance-based funding will increase by $100 million in state funds – totaling $690 million. The state and the institution’s investments would amount to $345 million each.

Another request: $206.7 million for university initiations, including $14.3 million for operations and maintenance for new facilities, $40 million for research staffing and $15 million to recruit and retain nursing faculty.

The total ask is 4.2 percent more over its base budget, now standing at $5.1 billion.

A release of meeting highlights obtained by Lobby Tools shows the System is on track to meet or surpass several key goals, including “retention and graduation rate, degrees in areas of strategic emphasis” and more.

“Due to performance funding and other accountability initiatives, the State University System’s progress in recent years has truly been remarkable,” said Board Chair Tom Kuntz. “We’ve seen nearly across-the-board improvement on several quality indicators, and we have every reason to believe our momentum will continue.”

For the 2015-16 academic year, 86 percent of first-time students met the System standard for retention – a 7 percent increase since 2005-2006. Also, over the past five years, four-year graduation rates have increased by 10 percent; six-year graduation rates have risen to a degree where Florida is now ranked second among the 10 largest states.

In addition, the System has reached its goal of meeting Florida’s demand for degrees in strategic areas, including STEM, four years ahead of schedule.

The meeting also included presentations of strategic plans for the University of West Florida, the University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University and Florida State University.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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