The State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors and the Florida State Legislature will soon vote on whether to increase tuition for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The basis for the increase is the need for additional funding to compensate STEM instructors, to maintain and increase resources available to educate STEM majors, and to offset dwindling financial support from the state to the State University System of Florida.
An increase in tuition for STEM majors in the SUSFL means it would be less economical to pursue a STEM major. STEM tuition increases may result in the cost of education between public and private colleges and universities becoming similar.
Amon Seagull, Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs of the Graduate School of Computer Information Sciences, said, “If [STEM tuition increases] it reduces the public/private price differential. It will improve our competitiveness.”
However, Maria Dillard, executive director of enrollment management, said that she does not foresee any impact regarding potential tuition increase on STEM majors in the SUSFL on enrollment at NSU.
Don Rosenblum, Ph.D., dean of Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, agreed. He said tuition pricing at state universities has a large influence on application patterns for prospective students considering NSU — regardless of major.
“Prospective students often will consider applying to schools based on many factors —reputation, unique qualities and programs, comfort with faculty and environment, quality of campus life — and will then consider pricing from among acceptance offers when making a decision about enrollment,” said Rosenblum.
According to research conducted and published by the Florida Department of Education, the number of STEM bachelor’s degrees awarded between 2005 and 2008 by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, which NSU is a part of — have increased for nursing, decreased for computer and information science, and has flat lined for engineering.
Seagull said the proposed tuition increase for STEM majors in the SUSFL is beneficial to enrollment in programs at graduate school.
“If the broader picture is to increase the number of STEM graduates, then that will both improve Florida’s high-tech labor force and increase the applicant pool for graduate programs,” he said.