Florida students taxed for taking extra college classes

The purpose of the tax is to keep students from taking too many credit hours outside of their degree.

Currently, students will pay 100 percent of the tuition rate for each hour they take in excess of 110 percent of their degree program.

College students are going back to school this week, and some are feeling the heat—students in Florida are expected to receive a heavy tax on credit hours if they take too many classes outside of their degree.

The tax, which passed in 2009 and has since been amended with the approval of Governors Rick Scott (R) and Charlie Crist (D), says that its purpose is to "encourage each undergraduate student. . .to complete [their] respective baccalaureate degree program in the most efficient way possible while providing for access to additional college coursework."

The statute hiked the tax for four consecutive years while simultaneously dropping how many credits it took before the tax kicked in. In 2009-2010, students were charged 50 percent of the tuition rate for each credit hour they took that was in excess of 120 percent of their degree program. In 2012-2013, that tax jumped to 100 percent of the tuition rate per credit hour in excess of 110 percent of a student's degree program.

According to Florida’s university governing board, only 618 students were impacted by the tax during the 2013 fall semester. However, the impact could soon be much greater as the first wave of students to feel the full effects of the tax are just now nearing graduation.

A 2003 legislative analysis showed that 78 percent of state university students took excess credits in 2002-2003, which cost the state $62 million.

“The last thing struggling students need is another government-created cost burden on their shoulders,” said Corie Whalen, a spokeswoman for Millenial advocacy group GenOpp, told Campus Reform. “Instead of charging students more money to take classes outside of their majors, state legislatures should consider innovative ways to reform the higher education accreditation process and integrate job training into curriculums.”

Via the Sun Sentinel.

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