TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - Lawmakers and leaders of New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic University are pushing back against a Florida House plan that would merge the two schools into Florida State University and the University of Florida.
The wide-ranging bill would also make taxpayer-funded grants that go to students attending private colleges and universities need-based and increase Bright Futures scholarships for some students attending state colleges.
New College students were joined by school President Donal O'Shea at the state capitol Wednesday, pleading their case for keeping the school independent of FSU. President O'Shea says his school offers programs that are unique among Florida's public universities and folding it into FSU makes no sense.
"The disruption is way more than the savings would justify and completely threaten this unique school. We are under one percent of the entire state university system budget," he argued. "Our unique curriculum, with its directed independent study and its close interaction between professors and students, doesn't fit well within Florida State or any other larger university. Folding it into FSU would compromise its value and leave Florida with nothing like it."
O'Shea has spoken with leadership at Florida State University about the possible merger, and he says FSU doesn't want to have the distraction of a satellite campus nearly 300 miles south of Tallahassee.
The merger bill has yet to be scheduled for a hearing by the House Appropriations Committee, its final stop before reaching the floor.