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College-Tuition Break Mulled for High-Demand Fields

Tuition rates in Florida may be frozen for three years for students who pursue careers in which there is high job demand, such as STEM fields. The idea policymakers are kicking around is that higher education funded by taxpayers needs to serve the public good and provide a sound return on investment, according to officials quoted in an article in The New York Times.

Last month, Gov. Rick Scott also issued a challenge to the state's colleges to put a $10,000 price-tag cap on some of their four-year degrees. This would require schools to shave off about $3,000 in costs for a typical degree.

All of these ideas come at a time when public support for higher education in Florida has been drastically cut—26 percent from 2006 to 2011, among the deepest cuts in the country.

To make up for lost revenue, tuition has increased 71 percent in the past four years.

While hailed by some in the business community, the ideas are considered gimmicks by others. Far from a done deal, but still interesting to hear how states are creatively coping with finances and the changing higher education landscape.

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