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Rick Scott Brings Out Proposal to Hold Down Higher Ed Costs

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On Friday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced the first of his series of proposals to help rein in the costs of higher education. 

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On Friday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced the first of his series of proposals to help rein in the costs of higher education.

After saying earlier in the month that he would bring out five proposals to help hold down higher ed costs, Scott brought out the “Student Training and Education Metrics (STEM) Act” on Friday.

“Today, I am introducing the STEM Act to offer a solution to make higher education more affordable and ensure schools are preparing students for jobs,” Scott said. “Just like I did as governor of Florida, I’m working to make sure colleges and universities never raise tuition or fees on our students. My STEM Act eliminates all federal funding for institutions that raise tuition, requires standards and metrics for both for-profit and non-profit colleges, and holds colleges and universities accountable for a portion of student loans. The Democrats’ plans to eliminate all student loan debt is a fairy tale that would only make bad behavior worse. Proposals to make everything free seems great, but would bankrupt families. We need to focus on real solutions to bring down the cost of higher education and make sure students are prepared for jobs.”

The bill would ensure that schools which raise tuition and fees would not be able to obtain federal funds.

“There’s no reason universities should be raising costs on our students, even one bit. Businesses have to get more productive each year, so should our colleges and universities,” Scott’s office insisted.

The bill would also ensure more accountability for schools when it comes to job placement and student debt.

“By forcing universities to take more responsibility, they will have more of an incentive to actually prepare students for careers – instead of encouraging mountains of debt and degrees that don’t lead to jobs after graduation,” Scott’s office noted. “The STEM Act creates an agreement between institutions and students. Beginning the first year after enactment, an institution is responsible for 1 percent of the loan balance of students who are in default, within the first three fiscal years where their loans have entered repayment. Institutions are responsible for 2 percent in the second year, increasing to 10 percent of that balance at the end of 10 years.”

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Scott’s proposal would also have the U.S. Education secretary “publish a variety of important and common-sense metrics, such as the 6-year graduation rate for each academic program offered in their institution, the percentage of graduates who are employed full-time or continuing their education full-time after graduation, and the cost to graduate with a degree for each academic program” to help ensure more transparency.

“Metrics create accountability to make sure all higher education institutions are doing their most important job: preparing students for the opportunity to get a great job, build a career and become self-sufficient,” Scott’s office noted.

Scott’s proposal was sent to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee towards the end of last week. So far, he does not have any Senate cosponsors and there is no companion bill over in the U.S. House.


Reach Kevin Derby at




  • Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.



  1. Crista B. Griffin

    October 5, 2019, 8:35 am at 8:35 am

    What really needs to get accomplished is getting rid (of) regulations and beaurocracies interfering in elementary school, middle school, and high school education. Keep ONLY few minimal requirements, (same for everybody) at high school graduation. How about ONLY: Basic arithmetic; basic English (conversational rather than grammar); civics (political party basic principles rather than issues, and know routes for getting your interests accomplished; nutrition and fitness; and independence skills, leadership skills, entrepreneurial skills, with knowing (a) trade, for example: cooking, sewing, tailoring, mending, carpentry, mechanics, fixing things, making things, gardening, child care, health care, animal care, to proficiency level where graduates could benefit community, and be paid for their work.
    Then, graduates would have real options, other than ONLY college, and colleges lower tuitions.
    Let teachers reign in (the) classrooms, sharing what they know, without interference, except for student and parents recourse to (the) school board.
    Have local people come in and share, now and then, from their areas (of) expertise, giving teachers (rest), and broadening student perspectives.
    Goal (of) education system to be (un-ignored): healthy development of: character, mind, intellect, emotions, spirit, body, sociability, and relationship(s), for each and (every) one.

  2. mib8

    October 7, 2019, 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm

    Hrmmm, I agree with CBG…sort of. By the time they complete 6th grade they should have a vocabulary of at least 5K words & know the etymologies of at least 75% of them, basic AmerEnglish grammar, reading of works consisting of the most common current words, terms, & phrases (not necessarily neologisms, & not ones that were widespread 150-200 years ago but no longer, adding, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimal notation, percentages, the bare beginnings of algebra. Ethics. A bit of music, simple melodies, ear training (there have been computer-based tools for several decades). By 4th grade they should be able to “make change”, and check the person & computer at the grocery, toy, hobby, hardware, bakery store, restaurant.

    Middle school should fill that out, they should be getting a smattering of German, Latin, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek… (if only by way of teaching those AmerEnglish word origins & why those cousins & people in the news have such odd-sounding names), algebra, geometry, a little more sophisticated reading materials, some of the old, too, some scientific method, geography, geology, biology, simple physics, kitchen chemistry/nutrition & basic shop with lots of coaching…maybe in conjunction or co-ordination with youth groups. More ethics linked with the philosophical bases & a dash of comparative religions. They should know some family history, local history, state history, bare bones USA history. By the time they move on, they should be aware of where they stand, study techniques, test-taking techniques, essay writing, letter writing, a general idea of the iimportance of good grades, good conduct, how to balance a savings or checking account, what might be a good vo-tech, or college, or university, what kinds of jobs & studies might be interesting…because, by the time they are HS juniors it is pretty much too late.

    HS, should polish up and connect what came before. Don’t rush the math; always stop to repeat, explain, connect, refresh; don’t leap to what would seem to the student to be floating or arbitrary abstractions. Perhaps tell them how each theorem, lemma, hypothesis was originally developed rather that merely a random, arbitrary list & manipulations to memorize. But, at the same time, every grad should have at least some “baby calculus”, a little matrix & vector algebra. More physics, chemistry, biology. More detailed & complicated versions of the USA history stories, explaining some of the details that were earlier glossed over. A bit of world history, civics, debate. More specialization.

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