The Florida Senate has approved some massive cuts to higher education.

The Eternal Flame at FAMU will still endure despite facing potential funding cuts. (Jamie Francis/St. Petersburg Times)

Florida Senate Budget Chair JD Alexander wants the state’s 11 universities to return 400 million dollars from its reserves to help balance a 71 billion dollar budget.

The budget was approved 33 to 6 Thursday.

“I think that’s not an unfair or unreasonable thing to ask,” said Sen. Alexander.

For its share, Florida State University would lose 55 million dollars.

Florida A&M University would get an 11 million dollar cut.

Alexander says if lawmakers don’t cut funding for state universities, then other state services like K-12 education and health care would face the axe.

Since 2007, FSU administrators say they’ve lost over 100 million dollars in state cuts.

“It has definitely impacted services and programs,” said Kathleen Daly, FSU Assistant Vice President for Governmental Relations. “We’re trying to keep our students safe from these cuts, it’s getting to the point that if we have to take more recurring cuts, it’s going to be difficult to do that.”

Lawmakers are giving universities the option of increasing their tuition by 15 percent.

But Governor Rick Scott said Wednesday he remains skeptical of any hike.

“I don’t see any reason why we ought to be raising tuition,” Gov. Scott said.

University administrators say even if they increase tuition, it won’t be enough to offset the proposed cuts.