TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Two Florida educators are calling on Governor Rick Scott to raise tuition prices to fill the state’s massive budget hole. But it’s the 30 percent increase that has students and parents reeling.

According to CBS4 news partners The Miami Herald, University of Florida president Bernie Machen and Florida State president Eric Barron drafted a letter to the governor proposing the increase.

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“Other universities around the country bit the bullet, rose their tuition to balance their budgets and then they’re raising tuition at 4 percent or 6 percent. Whereas we’re playing this catch up,” Barron said in an interview. “Maybe we should just be looking at the national average and get it over with, rather then keep raising it on people.”

Lawmakers have a slightly more modest plan to generate revenue. The House had plans to raise tuition by five percent next school year, and leave it up to the universities to request an optional 10 percent rate increase from the Board of Governors. The Senate wants to leave all the decisions to the individual schools, having them present to the Board for the entire 15 percent.

In the past, Governor Scott has vocally supported letting universities be more flexible in setting their own tuition rates and schedules.

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When presented with the proposed 30 percent rate hike, Gov. Scott was rather diplomatic.

“There’s two sides to it. Step one, we have to make sure we don’t waste dollars and keep tuition low as possible,” Scott told reporters. “The other side is we’ve got to make sure we have the dollars in our system so we can have the best professors, the best system. It’s both sides.”

Whatever the percentage, lawmakers say, tuition increases are inevitable. Bright Futures, the state’s popular merit-based scholarship program is also being targeted for cutbacks. House discussions have included the possibility of raising SAT scores and imposing more community service hours for qualifying students. The Senate proposed taking $1,000 dollars off of the scholarships.

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CBSMiami.com Team