Bill to merge New College and Florida Poly with UF dies in 2020 session

New College of Florida students protest about a possible merger with another public university. Credit: New College Facebook page.

Students, faculty and administrators at New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic University can rest easier now, as House Speaker Jose Oliva said Friday evening that a bill to merge those two schools with the University of Florida is dead for the 2020 session.

“It looks like it wasn’t going to get the support in the Senate,” said Oliva, a Miami-Dade County Republican. “So, we abandoned it. It’s a shame but that’s the process.”

House leaders had pushed the merger deal (HB 7087), arguing that those two schools — which are smaller, unique institutions in Florida’s university system – were spending too much on graduating students, compared to other schools in the system.

But the House plan was strongly opposed by supporters of New College, a liberal arts school that prides itself on smaller classes and strong relationships between students and professors, and Florida Poly, a growing school that focuses on technology-related degrees.

The proposal was never filed as legislation in the Senate.

Here’s a prior Florida Phoenix story on the merger bill.