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Make a Difference for UCF

The UCF community is a powerful force. With more than 230,000 alumni, nearly 60,000 students and thousands of faculty, staff and community partners, our voices can be heard. The Knights Advocates program helps local and national leaders learn about UCF's goals and its impact on the local, state and world economy. With support from the university, the UCF Alumni Association, UCF University Relations and community leaders, Knights Advocates make sure legislators and key decision makers understand that UCF and its graduates play a key role in economic development through science, research, business and the development of a highly educated workforce.

What We Do:

  • Engage in activities that promote a better understanding of the university's goals. 
  • Provide the UCF community with information regarding UCF's financial and economic impact.
  • Provide the UCF community with information on how it can be an advocate and contribute to the future and well-being of the university.
Knights Advocates

Become a Knights Advocate:

  • Learn how to get involved and be tuned in to the important issues affecting UCF.
  • Become equipped with the information and tools to effectively communicate your message.
  • Take action so your voice is heard.
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UCF's 2014 Legislative Priorities

  • Secure the necessary investments to protect and sustain the Department of Defense modeling,
    simulation, and training cluster in Central Florida.

  • Obtain both traditional and new revenue streams to support the facility needs of UCF and
    the State University System.

  • Receive preeminent program funding for those academic areas in which UCF is recognized
    for excellence and leadership, such as in the STEM disciplines.

  • Partner with the State of Florida, as opportunities present themselves, to take advantage of
    economic development projects that promise to significantly impact the region's and state's
    economic competitiveness and prosperity.

 

September 10, 2013 Central Florida Legislative Delegation Meetings

The Central Florida Legislative Delegation meetings have been scheduled. Are you interested in what your delegation has to say? Then check out the schedule below.

 View/Print Delegation Meeting Schedule

March 27, 2013 Legislative Update

Below is a copy of the State University System of Florida's Education and General Budget Executive Summary as of March 27, 2013. The two budgets are expected to pass their respective houses, then head into the Conference Committee process. Overall, both the Senate and the House have been very good to Higher Education. Of particular note is the full restoration of $300 million back into the State University System with no restriction. The university is very pleased to report that both the House and Senate have funded the UCF-FIU Medical Schools Implementation at the levels spelled out in the original 10-year funding plan. UCF has no major issues, and we expect the two red line issues (Institute for Human & Machine Cognition and the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government) to be worked on in the weeks ahead. 

The university greatly appreciates the hard work and tremendous support of our Central Florida Delegation and our UCF alumni in the Legislature. 

View/Print March 27, 2013 Budget 

The 2012- 2013 State Appropriation Bill detailed a cash cut of $300 million for the state university system. The University of Central Florida experienced $52,613,031 in budget cuts of the original $300 million. For the 2013 Legislative Session, the state university system and UCF have the following legislative priorities:

  1. Restoration of the $300 million cuts to the overall system in last year's appropriation bill.

  2. Support efforts that allow funding for universities' capital and facility needs.

  3. Support additional performance funding of $118 million, for the enhancement of STEM programs and undergraduate education.

Latest Issues and Upcoming Legislative Events Affecting UCF

March 19, 2012 Legislative Update:The 2012 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature is history. Faced with another revenue shortfall, all of higher education received reductions in base budgets. UCF and FSU suffered the largest reductions based on budget size, encumbrances, and other balances. All institutions were affected using data reported in January 2012. UCF's budget reduction is a "one-time" nonrecurring cut of $52,613,031. FSU's reduction is $65,834,110. The total system reduction is $300,000,000. In other parts of the GAA (General Appropriations Act), UCF fared much better. Following is a list summary of those actions. In many cases, UCF's share of the system total (SUS) is not known at this time. 

UCF

SUS

PO&M TBA 8,449,186

Outcome Based Performance TBA $15,000,000

Tuition Authority TBA $115,907,720

Lou Frey Institute  400,000 N/A

High Tech Corridor 2,000,000 N/A

PECO (Capital Facilities)
  • Maintinance & Repair 
  • Math & Physics Bldg. Renovation & Remodeling
  • Engineering Building I RenovationIn addition, unused partial funds for a new research facility were reverted and then appropriated to complete Classroom II building
TBA$3,877,895$3,620,723 $7.000.000N/AN/A

Autism (CARD)  $822,012 N/A

Two Plus Two TBA 3,000,000

UCF College of Medicine (New) $1,000,000 N/A

Student Financial Assistance $858,405 $7,140,378

Economic Gardening $2,000,000 N/A

UCF Small Business Incubator $1,000,000 N/A

Central Florida Life Sciences Incubator TBA $5,000,000
  

The proposed 2012-13 State Appropriations Bill now sits on our legislators' desks, awaiting final debate and passage sometime Friday afternoon. With the state looking at an approximate $1 billion shortfall this year and with revenues still somewhat anemic, reductions in many parts of the budget were expected, and higher education was not immune from those. The proposed cash balance cuts for the State University System are significant and detrimental, impacting all our universities and challenging our goals of access and excellence. The state universities and their presidents will work over the next year to address the impacts of the system wide cuts (approximately $300 million) and to hopefully restore the funding next year. Once the full Appropriations Bill has been adopted, we will provide a more detailed breakdown of the budget and list the "highlights and lowlights" for UCF.

"The budget for higher education and UCF is currently in a tenuous situation as the budget cuts agreed to at this point are deep and serious. Some compromises have been made and we're hopeful for more improvements as the Budget Conference Committees continue their work. If any of our Knights Advocates enjoy a personal relationship with our legislators, now would be a good time to ask their help in supporting UCF's budget needs and reducing the proposed reductions."- Dr. Holsenbeck

This is a summary of the proposed House and Senate Higher Education Budgets as they pertain to UCF.
Our legislators are hard at work during a difficult legislative session.

UCF Higher Education Appropriation Proposal

Specific Appropriation

Senate

House


From Lottery Fund $29,386,662 $46,945,004

From General Revenue Fund $113,615,927 $147,969,997

Tuition and Fees, UCF authorized $264,439,817 $264,744,034

From PECO
  • Utilities/Infrastructure/Capital Renewal/Roofs
  • Classroom Building II
  • Math & Physics Bldg. Renovation & Remodeling
  • Engineering Building I Renovation
N/A
$22,335,421
$9,595,358
$5,241,445
$3,877,895
$3,620,723

UCF Medical School $30,196,020 $31,153,021

Autism Program, UCF CARD $747,284 $747,284

Florida's Two Plus Two Program(UCF makes up roughly a third of Two Plus Two) $3,000,000 $3,000,000

Student Financial Assistance(75% of the funds provided shall be allocated for need-based financial aid) $858,405 $858,405

Economic Gardening, UCF $2,000,000 $2,000,000

UCF Small Business Incubator N/A $1,000,000

House and Senate IdenticalThe following facilities may be constructed or acquired from non-appropriated sources,
which upon completion will require general revenue funds for operations:
  • UCF- Flexible Residential Test Structures 1 & 2
  • UCF- Applications Test Facility
The following fixed capital outlay project may be constructed, acquired, and financed by a university
or university direct support organization:
  • UCF- NE Campus Mixed-Use Development
  • UCF- Bookstore Expansion
  • UCF-Research Lab, Lake Nona
  • UCF- Life Sciences Incubator, Lake Nona

Both House and Senate are considering this week their respective budget bills for 2012-2013. Neither is good, one is extreme. With tuition increases included, the House budget provides a slight increase. The Senate, however, incorporates a $400 million cut in the SUS base. This is over $70 million for UCF. Hopefully, the compromise expected will mitigate the Senate position.The negotiations will be in the hands of the leadership but if you have a relationship with any of your Senators, please ask them to improve their budgets for the universities.Thank you.

The holidays marked the end of a decade long routine and the beginning of an infrequent legislative schedule. With the census, each state legislature must redraw all voting district boundaries and finish in time for primary and final election cycles. Thus the Florida Legislature has finished its committee cycle which normally occurs in January and February and begins the regular session the second week of January which normally occurs in March.To this date neither the House nor the Senate has heard much of substance except to propose at the committee level new district lines. With the exception of Governor Scott's budget proposal, no other funding schemes have emerged. One thing is certain, however: once again there will be significant reductions to address and higher education is expected to be a target. Therefore, the budget remains the single most important priority for the State University System (SUS).In discussion with legislators, UCF has presented a priority list which is heavy on facility (usually PECO funds) construction. On that list are the following:1. Fully fund the recurring request for the UCF College of MedicineThe additional request is $1.9 million for both UCF and FIU together. These totals keep both institutions current with the agreements committed for full accreditation. UCF's share is about $1,000,000. Governor Scott did recommend this funding in his proposal.2. Maintain tuition flexibility for the SUSBy statute, the Board of Governors (BOG) can authorize the Boards of Trustees (BOT) to increase tuition up to a maximum of 15% each year including whatever percentage might be mandated by the Legislature. Florida is still a very low tuition state by any contrasts. According to the College Board survey for 2010-2011, the average tuition and fee total in Florida in the SUS is $4,886. The national average is $7,506 which means Florida is 48th lowest of the 50 states. These figures are for 30 semester credit hours per year which is considered full time.3. Fund the capital construction (PECO) requestsConstruction at the colleges and universities is normally funded through Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) which is derived from a gross receipts tax on some utilities. It does not appear that PECO funds will be available to any significant extent for 2012-2013 because of bonded indebtedness and less growth in the source. If funds of any type are made available for construction, UCF's priorities for construction would be:A. Completion of Classroom II                                          $5,241,445B. Restoration of Infrastructure veto                              $2,277,804C. Current Infrastructure                                                   $7,317,554D. Engineering Building I Remodeling                            $3,620,723E. Math and Physics Remodeling                                     $3,877,895There are always significant substantive issues which are in play or will emerge. We will endeavor to keep you informed of those as the session progresses. Generally speaking, however, we think the main issues to be focused upon by the Legislature are:1. Budget2. Redistricting3. Casino gamblingAlmost certainly the Legislature will address SUS issues related to accountability, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and economic development.Stay Tuned!

As the Legislature takes a brief respite from floor and committee action for the holidays, deadlines are fast approaching.  Appropriations bills must be decided and presented by midnight May 3, to be considered prior to adjournment on May 6.  If not, the session would have to be extended.Leadership members from both houses are currently analyzing the other's proposal.  The key decision involves total allocations for subcommittee to settle differences.  This is called the "Conference" process and should begin next week.Nothing has changed in original allocation summaries already made available to you.  These, however, are attached again for your information.  Also attached is a summary of the current retirement and insurance bills passed by both houses.  This issue also is headed to conference for resolution.Thanks for your support and effort during this challenging time.

As the 2011 regular Session of the Florida Legislature moves toward the holiday, some major issues are beginning to move toward floor action and then conference. The single most important issue of any session and the only one requiring passage by the Florida Constitution is the 2011-2012 GAA (General Appropriation Act or "the budget"). The past week (March 28 - April 1) both House Appropriations and Senate Budget committees sent budget bills to their respective floors for full membership participation. Both budgets contain significant reductions to the SUS universities and, as well as, all other segments of education. Each anticipates a 15% tuition increase.Both houses have also proposed "reform" of the Florida Retirement System. One of the most significant issued therein for the SUS (State University System) is to preserve the Optional Retirement Plan giving employees, specifically faculty, mobility and flexibility. So far this has been done. The other issue is the amount of personal contribution each employee will be required to contribute after June 30, 2011. Both versions now agree 3% of each salary. Prior to these proposals, the employer made all contributions.Thanks for your support. The best way you can help UCF right now is to voice continued appreciation to the members for the efforts on our behalf, in general for the overall budget, and in particular, for FIU and UCF Colleges of Medicine.

The UCF Alumni Government Relations Committee is holding its first meeting of 2011 on Monday, Feb. 14 at the UCF Executive Development Center located at 36 W. Pine Street. The meeting will be held from 12:00 - 1 p.m. and lunch will be provided for all who RSVP.This meeting will aim to provide support for the University's lobbying efforts, serve in an advisory capacity and represent the alumni and the University's concerns within the community. With the support of the Knight Advocates, the Government Relations Committee intends to increase awareness of state legislators concerning the needs and issues of the institution and the presence of UCF alumni.We look forward to seeing you on Monday, Feb. 14 and thank you for your support.

Legislative Update from Dr. Dan Holsenbeck, UCF Vice President for University RelationsThe 2010 Regular Session is complete! Will they come back for Special Session? Maybe. Only time and politics will tell.Relatively speaking, the session produced many positive results for UCF and the State University System (SUS). This is true for funding, despite a permanent decrease (-1%) in our operating budgets, and also substantive legislation. Even though much of the budget was "patched" with stimulus dollars ($129,012,316), the final numbers were much better than predicted. A summary of UCF funding issues is attached.The Legislature was particularly supportive of the SUS in PECO (facilities funding) appropriations. UCF received a large share of this money to support priority building projects on campus, including a new Classroom building housing ROTC and renovation for several older buildings.In the substantive legislation area, the House and Senate settled disagreements over tuition authority with the Board of Governors (BOG) although a court battle is still in progress. The BOG withdrew from the suit against the legislature and a monumental law was passed clarifying differences. More so, the new "Settlement Bill" provides unprecedented flexibility to university Boards of Trustees (BOT). UCF supported these efforts and President Hitt was much involved in the discussions and communications with legislative leaders.Speaking of individual legislators, the entire Central Florida Delegation was once again unanimous in its support of UCF. Led by Representative Dean Cannon, Senator Mike Haridopolos, Senator Thad Altman, Senator John Thrasher, Senator Evelyn Lynn, Senator Andy Gardiner and of course, Senator Lee Constantine, most of UCF's issues and concerns were addressed.Now is the time to thank them for their work on behalf of UCF. A handwritten note on your company letterhead is the best. A personal phone call to those you know is also very effective. Personalized e-mails are welcomed as an option also. Please refer to the attached list of UCF's Central Florida delegation and other leadership members. Remember that Representative Steve Crisafulli, Representative Mike Horner, Representative Robert Schenck, and Representative Dwayne Taylor are UCF alumni!Please do it now. Thank you so much. Just as we say "thank you" to you, you can really support UCF by saying "thank you" to our legislators!

Legislative Update from Dr. Dan Holsenbeck, UCF Vice President for University RelationsThe 2010 Regular Session is complete! Will they come back for Special Session? Maybe. Only time and politics will tell.Relatively speaking, the session produced many positive results for UCF and the State University System (SUS). This is true for funding, despite a permanent decrease (-1%) in our operating budgets, and also substantive legislation. Even though much of the budget was "patched" with stimulus dollars ($129,012,316), the final numbers were much better than predicted. A summary of UCF funding issues is attached.The Legislature was particularly supportive of the SUS in PECO (facilities funding) appropriations. UCF received a large share of this money to support priority building projects on campus, including a new Classroom building housing ROTC and renovation for several older buildings.In the substantive legislation area, the House and Senate settled disagreements over tuition authority with the Board of Governors (BOG) although a court battle is still in progress. The BOG withdrew from the suit against the legislature and a monumental law was passed clarifying differences. More so, the new "Settlement Bill" provides unprecedented flexibility to university Boards of Trustees (BOT). UCF supported these efforts and President Hitt was much involved in the discussions and communications with legislative leaders.Speaking of individual legislators, the entire Central Florida Delegation was once again unanimous in its support of UCF. Led by Representative Dean Cannon, Senator Mike Haridopolos, Senator Thad Altman, Senator John Thrasher, Senator Evelyn Lynn, Senator Andy Gardiner and of course, Senator Lee Constantine, most of UCF's issues and concerns were addressed.Now is the time to thank them for their work on behalf of UCF. A handwritten note on your company letterhead is the best. A personal phone call to those you know is also very effective. Personalized e-mails are welcomed as an option also. Please refer to the attached list of UCF's Central Florida delegation and other leadership members. Remember that Representative Steve Crisafulli, Representative Mike Horner, Representative Robert Schenck, and Representative Dwayne Taylor are UCF alumni!Please do it now. Thank you so much. Just as we say "thank you" to you, you can really support UCF by saying "thank you" to our legislators!

View/Print Resource Documents:

Knights_Advocates_Memo__5-25-10.docLeg_Del_Senate_lst.docLeg_Del_House_lst.doc2010-2011_Appropriations_UCF_Issues.doc

Legislative Update from Dr. Dan Holsenbeck, UCF Vice President for University Relations<As the Florida Legislature approaches the end of the 2010 regular session, activity is intensifying. Appropriations conference committees have made budget allocations, and they are beginning to resolve their differences. The conference report will probably provide state universities with budgets somewhere between the amounts included in the House and Senate versions. Substantial cuts are included in both proposals, but the Senate version is more favorable than the House version.Perhaps the most positive legislation to emerge in a long time is the "Settlement Bill," which resolves the legal issues between the Board of Governors and Legislature over which entity has the authority to set tuition. As currently written and moving to the floor in both houses, Senate Bill 1786 (House Bill 7237) is historic. This legislation would provide the Board of Governors and Boards of Trustees for each state university much greater flexibility. It also would delegate more operating procedures to individual universities. As soon as the bill completes its journey, we will ask you to thank our delegation.Many of you have expressed concerns about the "flagship" bill introduced by the University of Florida. This was a very controversial issue, but reason prevailed. The original language has been substantially modified and incorporated into the "Settlement Bill" described above. UCF has no objection to the current language. The bill, as written now, poses no threats or obstacles to UCF as we strive to fulfill the mission approved by our Board of Trustees.Posted 4/21/10Please read and respond. Your voice can make the difference!

Legislative Update from Dr. Dan Holsenbeck, UCF Vice President for University RelationsThe 2010 Legislative Session is now in its fourth week, and it is expected that on Wednesday or Thursday the House and Senate will each pass their respective Appropriation Bills, thus setting the stage for several weeks of conference committees to hammer out the differences.Considering the tough economic times, both the State University System (SUS) and UCF in particular are somewhat like Goldilocks--not too bad, but not real good. When you add up all the budgetary devices the Senate Budget has a net increase over last years budget of about 6% for higher education and the House has net increase of about 1%. The current difference is approximately a $200 million gap for the entire SUS.For UCF specifically, both houses have essentially the same funding figure for the UCF College of Medicine, falling just short of the Board of Governors' request, but with a number that still keeps us on track for bringing in our next class and securing final accreditation. Tuition will most likely be raised by 15% with an 8% increase leveled by the legislature and the remaining 7% increase coming from the tuition differential increase that local Boards of trustees can enact.Breaking news this week is word that the Board of Governors of the SUS and the Legislature have settled their differences in the current legal challenges over which entity has the legal right to establish tuition rates. All reports indicate that the settlement at this stage is quite favorable to the universities but it will require implementing legislation by session end.Now is the time for you to contact your state legislators--or any with whom you have a personal relationship--and to share the following:

  • Thank them for their continued support for the UCF College of Medicine.
  • Restate the importance that higher education, and UCF in particular, play in economic development for both the state and Central Florida.

Thanks for your engagement as a UCF Knights Advocates and making your voice heard in the political arena.Posted 3/31/10

Legislative Update from Dr. Dan Holsenbeck, UCF Vice President for University RelationsThe 2010 Florida Legislative Session will once again take place in a rather frugal environment given the financial challenges facing our state. Considering the close correlation between university-based research and high-wage/high-impact jobs, it will be important for UCF to advocate for continued support of the role universities play in sustaining economic development and growing tomorrow's industries. While numerous issues and bills yet defined will dot the landscape of the coming session, the following priorities will anchor UCF's 2010 legislative priorities:

  • College of Medicine — Funding the Florida Board of Governor's recommendations for the continued phase-in and development of the colleges of medicine for both the University of Central Florida and Florida International University (the Florida Board of Governors' final legislative budget request is expected in late January/February).
  • Matching Grants ProgramRestoration of investment in the Matching Grants Program to allow universities to match already received private funds with state resources for construction of facilities. Both the Courtelis Facilities Enhancement Challenge Grant Program and other eligible matching programs would greatly benefit from state investment, allowing for about almost immediate construction activity.
  • Other Opportunities with Regional Impact — While no specific items are currently being presented, it is important to maintain a willingness to consider potentially beneficial opportunities that may become available, like those previously seen with the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and defense industry protection measures.

Posted 1/20/10

 

 
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