Rick Scott discusses textbook initiative and financial aid on Boca campus


char Pratt

Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited the FAU Boca campus on Feb. 12, 2015. Idalis Streat | Contributing Photographer

Lulu Ramadan, Contributing Writer

Gov. Rick Scott spoke on campus Thursday, and he came bearing gifts: tax-free textbooks and financial aid in the summer.

Scott addressed the media and a small group of students and administrators at the campus bookstore at 11 a.m.

“It’s important how much this costs,” he said. “We want our students to get a great education and we want them to be able to get out of school with as little to no debt as we can.”

Scott explained a new statewide initiative to cut sales tax on college textbooks — which would save students an average $60 per year, he said.

The initiative would also allow students to use Bright Future scholarship money during the summer semester.

“It’s critical to be able to save every dollar for students,” said Student Body President Michael Cepeda.

“What’s happening is the state’s’ revenues are growing,” Scott said. “We’ve got to invest the money wisely.”

Additional revenue from record tourism has increased state funding. Scott said. The 12 universities in the State University System are judged based on criteria such as graduation rates and job placement rates for performance funding from the state.

In 2014, $100 million in performance funding was divvied up between state schools, but FAU lost out on $7 million because of poor performance. FAU has since put in place an improvement plan to restore the funding that includes hiring more academic advisors and a new assistant provost for academic success.

“We’re paying for performance,” Scott said. “And in turn we’re seeing changes that are all good for the students and that’s what all of this is for.”