State bill proposing to merge Florida Poly with University of Florida ends

Mar 07, 2020
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House Bill 7087

A state bill in the Florida House of Representatives that proposed to merge Florida Polytechnic University and New College of Florida into the University of Florida. The bill was abandoned on March 6, 2020.


Lawmakers, put brakes on university merger plan (The Ledger, Mar. 6, 2020)
Florida House Republicans are trying to merge three state universities, and we’re all wondering why (Orlando Weekly, Mar. 5, 2020)
New College and Florida Polytechnic are not playing cards to be traded (Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 28, 2020)
Your Turn: Florida Poly shaping future STEM talent (Tallahassee Democrat, Feb. 28, 2020)
Ten terrible moves by an arrogant Florida Legislature (South Florida Sun Sentinel, Feb. 26, 2020)
Polk Perspective: Florida Poly must remain independent (The Ledger, Feb. 20, 2020)
Our View: Poly makes its case (The Ledger, Feb. 16, 2020)
Statement: Florida TaxWatch on House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee University Merger Proposal (TaxWatch, Feb. 12, 2020)
Surprise proposal to fold Florida’s smaller universities into flagships fails the fair facts and truth review and analysis (Florida Politics, Feb. 12, 2020)

Community Updates

March 7, 9:20 a.m.

Dear Florida Poly Community,

As I hope you’ve heard, we received word yesterday afternoon that House Bill 7087 proposing to merge Florida Poly and New College with the University of Florida has died.  According to reports, the Speaker of the House has said that this issue has been abandoned.

We have many, many people to thank for their support and advocacy and it begins with the Polk County delegation.  Our Representatives and Senators have been a strong force since the beginning and have not wavered. We have worked closely with them throughout this process and will continue to do so.  We also have incredible parents, students, alumni, Trustees, Foundation Board members, industry partners and community members who have all contacted their Representatives and Senators to express support for Florida Poly.  We are grateful for your support!

As we all know, Session has not ended and we will continue to monitor the process throughout the remainder of the session and will work with our team in Tallahassee to educate our policymakers on the positive impact of Florida Poly and our graduates to the State.

Thank you for your continued support!

March 4, 11 a.m.

Good Morning.  I am in Tallahassee again this week working with our government affairs team to share the Florida Poly positive message and our opposition to House Bill 7087.  We have had many meetings over the last several days, and I feel confident that our story is being heard and everyone knows the University’s position on this legislation.

I want to thank our parents, students, alumni, employees, industry partners and community members who have taken the time to write Representatives and Senators and express their opposition to this bill.  Your voices are being heard – many folks have mentioned to us that they are receiving your messages.  Thank you for your advocacy!

Quick update for this week: House Bill 7087 will be heard in the Florida House of Representatives on Friday, March 6.  At that time, the members will ask questions about the bill and consider any amendments that have been filed.  The bill will probably be heard again on Monday or Tuesday when a vote will be taken.  After that, it will go to the Senate, where there is still no companion legislation.

At this point, anything can still happen and we are working hard in Tallahassee to ensure a positive outcome for Florida Poly.

Thank you for your continued support!

February 28, 2:22 p.m.

Good afternoon, everyone,

I want to give you a quick update on HB 7087, the bill proposing to merge Florida Poly and UF. I spent the week in Tallahassee and had some very good meetings with our State legislators.  As you’ve probably heard, the bill passed the House Appropriations Committee earlier in the week and is now available to be heard on the House floor.  At this time, it’s uncertain when that may happen. However, there is still no companion bill in the Senate.

I will travel to Tallahassee again next week to continue these important meetings and advocating for our University. Together, we have accomplished great things and I’m confident we will continue to do so in the future.

For those of you who have spring break next week, please enjoy and stay safe. I will send another update when more information is available.

Thanks for all you do!

Dr. Randy K. Avent, President 

February 24, 2:30 p.m.

Good afternoon Florida Poly community,

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I want to send you an update regarding House Bill 7087, the legislative proposal you no doubt have heard about to merge Florida Poly (and New College) into larger institutions.

As of late Friday afternoon, a new version of the bill was filed to move both schools under the University of Florida. As you’ll recall, the initial committee bill already proposed to merge Florida Poly with UF – so that has not changed, and neither has our opposition to it.

I will be in Tallahassee this week and plan to speak against the legislation before the House Appropriations Committee tomorrow afternoon. I have spoken to our Senators and Representatives regarding our strong opposition to this merger, and will continue to share with them the many positive aspects of the Florida Poly story.

As you know, we have accomplished great things together and we continue to do so. This message is getting out, and we have a great team in Tallahassee working with us to advocate for the University. We have asked our community and all our stakeholders to engage in the legislative process, in a positive and respectful way. Our industry partners, students, parents, employees, Trustees and Foundation Board members, alumni, local elected officials, business leaders, and members of the community have been vocal in expressing their support of our University and are letting Florida’s elected officials in Tallahassee know. We genuinely appreciate the continued support of so many.

The bill is currently set to be discussed by the House Appropriations Committee tomorrow, February 25. There is still not a Senate companion to the bill, and its path after tomorrow is still uncertain. We are monitoring it closely and will continue to keep you updated throughout this process. We remain hopeful that in the end, Florida Poly will remain the extraordinary – and independent – institution we all love.

Dr. Randy K. Avent, President

February 14, 5 p.m.

Dear Florida Poly Community,

I want to thank our students, faculty, staff, and supporters for all of their hard work and commitment in continuing to move our University forward.  I have been in Tallahassee this week testifying against the recent House bill that was proposed to merge us with the University of Florida.  I have also met with several Legislators and called many others.  We are continuing to work on this tirelessly and we will not stop!  We have a great team in Tallahassee working around the clock and we feel confident in our efforts.

I want to give you a quick update on the bill:  As you know, the bill passed through the House Education Committee on February 12. We are waiting to see if the bill is assigned to other committees for hearings before it’s scheduled for a floor vote by the full House of Representatives.  Before the bill can advance to the Governor’s office, the State Senate must pass the exact same bill language.  At this point, there is no bill in the Senate.

We will continue to actively engage in Tallahassee and will watch for any progress of the legislation.  Unfortunately, I know you all have a lot of questions to which I cannot provide answers.  For right now, everything is the same.  Nothing has changed.  It’s early in the legislative process and we will keep you informed as any more information becomes available.

Please make sure to watch social media and the website for any updates.

Again, thank you for your dedication and commitment to our University.

I hope everyone enjoys the weekend.

Dr. Randy K. Avent, President

February 12, 3 p.m.

Dear students,

We will continue to monitor the progress and keep you as informed as we can. We ask your understanding and patience with us as we go through this process because there are often times when we do not have all of the answers and cannot answer all of the “what-if’s”… this is one of those times. Although we certainly understand you have many questions. In an effort to try and answer those that we can, you can contact meDr. Miller, or the Student Ombudsman.

Dr. Miller will also have office hours tonight from 5-7 and tomorrow, Thursday, from 11-2 and 5-7 (IST 2028c).

Please know that you, our students, are always our first priority. For the latest University updates, you can always check our website and social media channels.

Dr. Terry Parker, Provost

February 12, 2:45 p.m.

Earlier today the Florida House of Representatives education committee passed PCB EDC 20-03 relating to merging Florida Poly with the University of Florida.  Florida Polytechnic University remains in strong opposition to this legislation and our President Randy K. Avent and Trustee Bob Stork attended the education committee to convey this message.  Although, they were only given 90 seconds to do so. Our statement in opposition remains the same and can be found below.

What’s next and how can you help?

It’s important to note that while this bill passed the committee, it had bi-partisan opposition and this was the FIRST stop along the way.  There is still a long way to go and we can all make a difference.  Contact your Florida Senators and Representatives to tell them you strongly oppose this bill and you believe Florida Poly should remain as an independent University.  We have made incredible gains and accomplished great things.  Our students and alumni are solid proof of this!  Please reach out to your Legislators and local media and show your support for Florida Poly by opposing this bill.  You can find your legislators’ information on and


February 11, 10 a.m.

Dear Florida Poly community,

As I’m sure you’ve heard, there is a bill proposed in the House of Representatives to merge Florida Poly with the University of Florida. We were made aware of the legislation yesterday late in the afternoon along with everyone else. We are working closely with our colleagues in Tallahassee, our public affairs team and our Legislative Delegation as we monitor the process throughout today and the upcoming weeks.

This is the University statement at this time – we will keep you informed and updated as we get any further information.

Respecting every taxpayer dollar and maximizing the impact of those dollars is clearly at the heart of this legislative proposal. But the facts and the truth show that every dollar at Florida Polytechnic University is already having a maximum positive impact. That’s why we respectfully and strongly oppose this unnecessary and unwarranted legislation. We stand behind the fact that we have accomplished, and continue to accomplish, great things as a separate, unique institution within the State University System. Florida’s future lies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and Florida Poly offers a core STEM education available nowhere else in our state. In its young life, Florida Poly has been doing the job it was created for. Our projections show enrollment growth, and applications have nearly doubled. This university has a substantial economic impact for the benefit of all of Florida, and our recently earned ABET accreditation is a testimony to the high standards of our academic degrees. A recent study showed that Florida Poly grads can expect a return on their investment that is more than three times larger than the other universities in the system.  It would be a profound mistake, for our current and future students – and for the state of Florida – to diminish Florida Poly’s role in meeting this important state objective.

Please know that things can change quickly in Tallahassee, so please reach out if you hear anything or have any questions. All of us have worked incredibly hard to build this University, and I’m confident we will continue to do so.

Randy Avent, President

Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications