October 13, 2021
Raising Higher Education Quality Without Raising Tuition
A case study on how the Florida Board of Governors upended conventional industry wisdom with a tuition freeze, performance funding, and data transparency

Westcott Building, Florida State University

The best higher education systems in the nation cannot also be among the most affordable... or so the Florida Board of Governors once thought.

The Board tangled with state legislators who blocked tuition increases for years - asserting that higher tuition was the path to boosting educational quality and becoming the top state university system in the nation.

Then they proved themselves wrong.

In a twist of irony, the Board helped catapult the Florida system to the top of the U.S. News and World Report rankings - a spot they have now held for five years - only after implementing a prolonged tuition freeze and an innovative performance funding model that demonstrates return-on-investment for state dollars.

Under the Board's leadership, the State University System of Florida has undergone a staggering improvement in student and educational outcomes while boasting the second lowest tuition rates in the country.

Students are paying 60 percent ($8,850) less for their education, taking on less student loan debt, graduating at higher rates, and earning 15 percent more after graduation than before. State funding has increased 165 percent - bucking national trends.

The Florida Board of Governors raised educational quality without raising tuition.

In our second case study of the Governing Board Best Practices on College Affordability project, learn more about how the Florida Board of Governors ripped up their former playbook, instead applying innovative strategies to elevate Florida's universities. Challenging conventional industry wisdom, this success story ought to inspire college and university trustees across the nation to rethink their own approach to governing higher education.