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Office of Government Relations

12/2/2010 :

Weekly Update 10-21-11

House Actions

Chancellor Brogan (State University System) presented the SUS $154M New Florida LBR request to the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee.  In addition to the $154M recurring request is a $306M one time request, which includes $282.5M for Major Matching Grants and $2.1M for Small Business Development Centers. Chancellor Brogan stated that the SUS had increased STEM production by 18%; however, there needs to be more significant increases. The Chancellor went on to say that graduating more students brings much better returns than increasing enrollment. As expected, members asked the Chancellor his thoughts on the various ideas floating around on a new funding model, in particular an outcome based model, for the SUS. The Chancellor stated that he is in full agreement that an outcome based funding model is in the best interest of the system and the State of Florida and that individual institutions need to have more focused missions. Chairman Marlene O’Toole also had a comment, that was echoed several times by various members of the committee, stating that the committee needs to know where the state’s investment in universities (money) is going and what is the state getting in return.

Senate Actions

Chancellor Holcombe (State College System) provided the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee with an accreditation process and status update.  After the presentation, Edison College officials answered questions concerning their accreditation process, nursing accreditation, and course substitution policies.

The Senate Budget Committee met to receive a budget update and a presentation from the Department of Management Services regarding state health insurance plans.  While revenue collections have slightly increased, there are projected shortfalls in Medicaid, the court system, and additional issues. The total budget deficit projected for FY 12-13 is $ 1.957B.  The Chair also expressed concern for the PECO revenue source and the ability to fund projects.

The health insurance presentation contained recommendations for changes to plans for active employees, early retirees, Medicaid retirees, and pharmacy benefits. The proposal contains cost savings estimates and three tired options for each group.  The Chair requested information regarding a comparison of the state plans to private sector plans.  Included in the committee packets were updated reports from Mercer Consulting with those comparisons.

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