Pricing Out The Humanities

History professors at the University of Florida think their courses are plenty valuable, but they don't want them to be among the most expensive. And they are organizing to protest a gubernatorial task force's recommendation to charge more for majors without an immediate job payoff — a recommendation that the historians fear could discourage enrollments.

History professors have organized a petition against one of the more controversial recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform: differential tuition that could be punitive to the humanities. They've garnered more than 1,300 names in a week, including those from places far beyond the Sunshine State.

"We, the undersigned faculty, have dedicated our careers to the common good of the State of Florida," the petition reads. "We believe that the institutional goals of our universities are not in conflict with state goals. We also know a great deal about the vital connection between higher education and a responsible and productive citizenry; in fact, this connection is at the very center of our profession. We trust that Governor Scott will recognize the pressing need for meaningful faculty input into future deliberations concerning the future of higher education in the State of Florida."

Quoting the task force's language on differential tuition, petition co-creator Norman Goda said, “The theory is that students in ‘non-strategic majors,’ by paying higher tuition, will help subsidize students in the ‘strategic’ majors, thus creating a greater demand for the targeted programs and more graduates from these programs, as well.”

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