Gov. Scott's $10,000 degree idea a "gimmick pretending to be a policy"

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As expected, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday challenged the state’s 28 colleges to create bachelor’s degree programs that cost students no more than $10,000. St. Petersburg College agreed to be the first to accept the challenge, with its Tech Management Program.

The Gradebook reports that State Board Vice Chairman Roberto Martinez is already criticizing the plan.

In a separate letter to the Governor, Martinez panned the idea as a “gimmick pretending to be a policy used as a sound bite,” stripped from the playbook of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He urged Scott to reconsider:

“All of us want for our colleges to provide a Bachelor’s Degree that is of high quality and affordable. We are very mindful of the amount of debts our students are carrying and we should strive to do all we can to minimize the financial burdens on our students. I am sensitive to this objective, as I am aware of the impact economic difficulties had on my parents’ ability to pursue their education.  But, with the deep budget cuts over the last five years, it is difficult to conceive cutting the cost of instruction even further while maintaining a quality education. The cost of a Bachelor’s Degrees at many of our colleges cost the students on average approximately $12,000. Reducing this further, to create a cheap four-year degree, will undermine the quality and value of the education, hurting our students’ chances to compete successfully in our 21st Century economy. I am sure that is not the message that you would like to convey.

“Of course, the cost to the student of a Bachelor’s Degree could be decreased further without sacrificing quality if the State of Florida were to appropriate more funding to the colleges. The burden then would not be placed on the student and the colleges would be able to maintain and even enhance the high quality of their instruction.

Read Martinez’ letter here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.