This story was written by Chelsea Keenean, Independent Florida Alligator
A student group from the National Education Association gathered about 600 signatures Thursday from University of Florida students who want to keep tuition low during the countrys economic crisis.
Members of an NEA student-run program called Got Tuition? campaigned on the Reitz Union North Lawn for seven hours.
But the group may have been preaching to the wrong crowd. UF students pay the lowest tuition in the country, said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes. On a yearly average, UF students pay about $3,000 lower in tuition than other U.S. universities, she said.
Jermaine Coleman, NEAs Student Program chairman, said the campaign has visited about 100 college campuses across the United States.
Coleman said every year, 400,000 eligible high school graduates dont attend college because of the cost. Its a snowball effect, he said. If we could fix this problem, we could fix the economy; we could fix health care. Theyre all related issues.
The NEA plans to present the petition to Congress, showing that this issue affects students across the nation. Theyll see were not just blowing smoke, Coleman said.
But Sikes said it is not likely that the petition will have an effect on UF or other Florida universities.
The bottom line is that Florida tuition is extremely low, Sikes said. I would be very surprised if anything changed.