The Florida Courier

The battle over how far Florida colleges should be allowed to go in offering four-year degrees, once largely the responsibility of state universities, has spawned a new effort to more strictly limit those opportunities.

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Changes in Florida law years ago allows Daytona State College to offer four-year degrees in the same majors as historically Black Bethune-Cookman University, but at less cost to students.  (FLORIDA COURIER FILES)

The newest measure is sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who could become Senate president after the 2016 elections and has worked before to limit college offerings that he says overlap with what four-year universities already provide.

“One of my goals over the next several years is to make our good universities great,” Negron said.

“And you can’t find the funding to do that when you have unnecessary duplication of effort.”

Helps state HBCUs
Negron’s efforts may help Florida’s historically Black colleges and universities become more competitive for students who are seeking four-year degrees.

Three of Florida’s four HBCUs – Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach; Edward Waters College in Jacksonville; and Florida Memorial University in Opa Locka (Miami-Dade County) – are privately funded. (Florida A&M University in Tallahassee is state-funded.)

In each of their localities, the private HBCUs have been forced to compete against former two-year community colleges that became state-funded four-year colleges offering baccalaureate degrees at a fraction of the HBCUs’ necessary costs. read more