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PRESS RELEASE

January 15, 2004

Contact: Alia Faraj
(850) 488-5394

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush Recommends Funding Increases for Community Colleges
Governor recommends largest funding increase in 14 years

ORLANDO — Governor Jeb Bush today announced a $104.5 million increase in direct aid for community colleges, the largest increase in 14 years. The Governor made this announcement as part of his Fiscal Year 2004-2005 budget recommendations. During his visit to Valencia Community College he was joined by members of the legislature and community college leaders from around the state.

"Florida's community college system is one of the finest. That they continue to strive for excellence demonstrates why they are second to none," said Governor Bush. "This funding will help ensure that they continue in a leadership position and that more students have the ability to receive a quality education."

As part of the Governor's commitment to higher education, community college funding will total $1.5 billion. This amount is a 7.6 percent increase over the current year's budget.

Since Governor Bush has been in office, he has been committed to opening doors to higher education through the state's community college system. Subsequently, total funding for community colleges has increased by 40.2 percent while total student enrollment has increased by 36.7 percent.

"Governor Bush's budget announced today for community colleges more than fulfills his pledge to fund and position our colleges to serve our burgeoning enrollment and provide the skilled workforce that will play a large role in the state's strong economic recovery," said Dr. Thomas E. Gamble, Chairman, Council of Presidents of the Florida Association of Community Colleges.

Among the Governor's Fiscal Year 2004-2005 budget recommendations are the following:

  • $22.3 million to fully fund the current backlog in academic matching grants of private donations for funding scholarships, loans, need-based grants, and scientific and technical equipment.

  • $8.5 million to fully fund the backlog in facility matching grants of private donations for funding high priority instructional and community-related facilities.

  • $6.4 million for five community colleges to offer targeted baccalaureate degrees including education, nursing and business administration.

For more information on Florida's community college system, please visit www.fldoe.org/cc.