DeSantis says 'Florida is standing with students and parents' as he signs new higher ed accountability measures into law

The Board of Governors for Florida's public university system are now authorized to 'adopt a regulation requiring each tenured state university faculty member to undergo a comprehensive review every 5 years.'

The new law also makes it more difficult for public university employees to profit from 'requiring students to purchase a specific textbook or instructional material for coursework or instruction.'

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7044, a new law that aims to "reform higher education" in the state through new accountability and transparency measures. 

"The bill removes the stranglehold that faculty unions and accrediting agencies have had on universities and colleges and adds common-sense transparency requirements for tuition, fees and cost of materials," the governor's office stated that same day. 

"Florida is standing with students and parents across our state," the text stated."

Per the legislation, the The Board of Governors for Florida's public university system are now authorized to "adopt a regulation requiring each tenured state university faculty member to undergo a comprehensive review every 5 years." 

These reviews must address the following regulations at minimum: "Accomplishments and productivity; Assigned duties in research, teaching, and service; Performance metrics, evaluations, and ratings; and Recognition and compensation considerations, as well as improvement plans and consequences for underperformance."

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The law will also make it more difficult for universities to impose or raise fees on students. Transparency will also be increased concerning additional fees that are passed.

“Each Florida College System institution shall publicly notice and notify all enrolled students of any proposal to change tuition or fees at least 28 days before its consideration for a vote taken at a board of trustees meeting,” the bill reads.

Relatedly, the new law also makes it more difficult for public university faculty to profit from assigning their published works as assigned reading. 

Furthermore, the bill requires all of Florida's public higher education institutions to seek accreditors that have been determined "best suited" by the Board of Governors or the State Board of Education. 

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Public postsecondary institutions will no longer be allowed to be accredited by the same agency throughout consecutive accreditation cycles. 

“Florida’s public college and university system is number one in the country because we put students first,” the governor's statement continued. 

“Florida’s students deserve a quality, affordable education and don’t need ideological activists and political organizations determining what they should learn," the text further stated. 

Campus Reform reached out to the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis for comment. This article will be updated with responses. 

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