April 21, 2021
Class of COVID-19: The pandemic and public higher education

Florida Trend Education

Class of COVID-19: The pandemic and public higher education

| 2/18/2021

Class of COVID-19: The pandemic and public higher education

With the state facing a budget crunch thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, what has been the impact of the virus on the finances of local colleges and universities? Can schools keep tuition in check? Tuition and fees for in-state students at Florida's public universities add up to about $5,600 a year on average — far less than the national average of more than $9,000. The last time there was an increase in Florida was 2013, and even then, it was less than a 2% hike. [Source: WLRN]

Is Florida becoming an education destination?

As the pandemic rages on across the country, families are eyeing Florida as a fresh start for their kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for how to safely reopen schools nationwide, which Governor Ron DeSantis has openly blasted. Since last fall Florida families had the option to send their kids back to the classroom after DeSantis called on school districts to reopen brick-and-mortar schools for five days a week. [Source: WPEC]

Florida: Standardized testing must be done on campus

Florida will extend the standardized testing period in the spring to allow for in-person testing for students who have not yet returned to campus due to COVID-19 concerns, the state’s education commissioner said in a new order. The testing, which usually takes place over a two-week period, was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be expanded this year by at least two weeks. [Source: AP]

Florida lawmakers warn schools they could lose millions if students don’t show up

House Republican leaders in the upcoming budget will seek to base public school funding on “actual enrollment,” after the state made a change this year that helped bolster districts financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to school superintendents, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, wrote that the House will try to end a temporary system of funding districts based on enrollment projections and resume tying money to “actual enrollment in those schools.” [Source: News Service of Florida]

DOE announces vendors for ‘Alyssa’s Alert’ school panic alarms

The Department of Education on Monday announced its selections for an $8 million project to install a mobile panic alarm system in Florida’s K-12 schools. The companies set to handle the development and installation of the system are AppArmor/Cutcom Software, Ares Security Corporation, AT&T, Centegix, Everbridge, Intrado, Motorola Solutions, Raptor and 911 Cellular. Of the bidders, 911 Cellular scored highest, followed by ARES Security, and AppArmor. [Source: Florida Politics]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Central Florida high schools, colleges receive millions from the Department of Education for apprenticeship programs
Four Central Florida counties will receive Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grants to start or expand on-campus apprenticeship programs. Volusia County Schools will get the most funding at more than half a million dollars to train students in H-VAC installation and maintenance.

› Superintendents to testify at State House amid warnings of schools losing funding
Five superintendents are set to testify at Florida’s State House Thursday, a week after the House speaker warned schools could lose hundreds of millions in funding due to a drop in enrollment amid the pandemic. The superintendents are scheduled to appear Thursday before the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, which has oversight of education funding. The state’s share of school funding is based on enrollment.

› FIU's elementary education program recognized for driving greater teacher diversity, selective admissions requirements
FIU’s undergraduate elementary education program is a national and statewide leader in driving greater teacher diversity in the community and maintaining selective academic admissions requirements, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality. FIU is among only 58 of 1,256 teacher preparation programs to earn the highest distinction nationally by NCTQ, a non-partisan, non-profit research and policy institution.

› Jacksonville University program offers a nursing degree in 12 months
Jacksonville University announced a program in partnership with Baptist Health that offers students a bachelor’s in nursing in 12 months. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the demand for talented, qualified nurses to care for Florida’s growing and aging population, especially with tens of thousands of experienced nurses approaching retirement in the next 10 years in our state,” said JU President Tim Cost in a news release Feb. 16.

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