Florida governor Ron DeSantis will cut $120 million of higher education funding from the state budget—nearly a quarter of the half-billion dollars in funding requests he rejected through line-item vetoes last week.
Many of the projects and programs cut centered on workforce development in crucial areas of the state economy. That includes $20 million for a nursing school at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee—at a time when the state is facing a severe nursing shortage—and $34 million for a STEAM complex at St. Johns River State College in Lakeland.
In addition, DeSantis rejected over $30 million in funding for capital maintenance and facilities upgrades, including $5 million to make necessary repairs to a dormitory at the University of West Florida that has been closed since 2017.
At the same time, DeSantis followed through on his promise to deliver a record $50 million in funding to New College, Florida’s smallest public four-year institution, where he has replaced the Board of Trustees with members who are committed to reshaping the college in his conservative vision. Fifteen million of the total New College funding is earmarked to facilitate that restructuring.
“This budget puts tens of millions of dollars just to New College,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday. “They’ve never had anything like that. So they’re going to be able to recruit faculty.”
In addition, he approved a $75 million health campus at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville.