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What Is Rick Scott Giving FSU in His New Budget?

Budgets are fun, right? I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing on a Friday night than pouring over complicated spreadsheets and thinking critically about where money is going and what the money will do. Sometimes, I like to light a few candles and play some smooth jazz while I sip some wine and feast my eyes on dollar signs and flip through pages and pages of budget spreadsheets.

The truth is, money runs the world. Even if budgeting isn’t terribly interesting to you, it’s an inescapable fact of life that you might as well learn to live with. In an extremely nerdy way, budgets are fascinating. It’s like a prediction of the future right in front of you. The hopes and dreams of people, businesses, organizations, even nations depend on the management of money.

In early February, Governor Rick Scott unveiled his “Keep Florida Working Budget” for fiscal year 2015-2016 (next year). It’s hot off of the press, so as we speak it is being analyzed by countless numbers of policy analysis, lobbyists, department heads, and other political busybodies (including myself).

So lets take a look at the “Keep Florida Working Budget” and how it relates to something that we all love and care about: college.

Next time you are on campus, in a computer lab, in a classroom, or attending an on campus event, take a look around you. Really look around and think about the massive amounts of money that goes into all of it. Really try to imagine the stacks of singles piled up to the ceiling to keep the well-oiled machine of higher education chugging. I’ve never seen 475 million dollars before (FSU’s Operating Budget), but I have seen it on a paper.

Governor Scott speaking about his proposed budget

Governor Rick Scott proposed $460 million for performance funding for state universities and colleges for next year. This is following up on the $200 million that was invested in performance funding for state universities in 2014-2015.

What this means is that The Florida Board of Colleges might have $460 million to give to colleges to make improvements to their systems. However, this money isn’t handed out willy-nilly. The Board of Governors follow a strict funding model that awards money based on such factors as percentage of graduates employed or continuing education, average wages of graduates, and cost per undergraduate degrees.

Last year, Florida State University received $21 million in performance funds from the Government and the Board of Colleges. This money was used to start the “Entrepreneurs in Residence,” a faculty that aids students in bringing their fresh ideas to market. Currently, the Entrepreneurs in Residence program places professors of practice in the colleges of Business, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Engineering, Motion Picture Arts, Law, and many others.

The funding also allowed FSU to hire new assistant professors to teach brain health and disease, materials and energy, and coastal and marine ecosystems. FSU also expanded the career resource (Dunlap) center with new mentorships and student services.

So who knows what great programs might arise out of Florida State’s chunk of 470 million dollars! I, for one, am hoping for an on-campus Cheesecake Factory.

Gerrit Van Lent is a Senior studying Political Science, English, and Public Administration. He spends the majority of his time on campus or at the office of The Children's Campaign, a non-profit that informs elected officials and works on behalf of vulnerable and at-risk children, where he does public policy research and legislative affairs coordination. Gerrit is active on campus and in the community via Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity engaged in service around Tallahassee. In his free time, Gerrit enjoys practicing martial arts at Logan's Martial Arts Academy, skateboarding, listening to music, video games, and enjoying time with friends. His interests include eating candy, cooking, pets, action movies, dungeons and dragons, and other rad stuff.
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