Florida University System Requests $20M to Correct Police, Mental Health Staffing Deficits

The state's public university officials say they have struggled to keep up with an increase in student enrollment.
Published: November 23, 2015

The University System of Florida has requested more than $20 million to help improve insufficient staffing levels.

More than $6 million of the funds would go toward mental health services while $14 million would go toward campus police departments. In many cases the state’s universities don’t meet industry standards for staffing in the two fields, according to the Miami Herald.

The lack of resources directed to school security and counseling services in recent years has been further strained by a 13 percent increase in student enrollment in the state’s 12 public universities since 2008. The enrollment increase was accompanied by a 48 percent increase in the number of counseling center clients and a 67 percent increase in the number of therapy sessions.

RELATED: Court: Univ. of Florida Can Ban Guns on Campus

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University system officials say industry standards call for two campus police officers for every 1,000 students and one therapist for every 1,000 to 1,500 students. Because many public universities in the state don’t meet those standards students are often placed on weeks-long waiting lists to receive counseling.

As part of the request officials from all 12 universities spoke with lawmakers and the university system’s board of governors gave a detailed breakdown of what the funds would be used for. The details of three university requests are listed below.

  • The University of Central Florida requested $4.2 million to add 25 campus police positions, 12 counseling positions and equipment.
  • The University of Southern Florida requested $1.5 million to add 12 campus police positions and three counseling positions plus equipment.
  • Florida International University requested $1 million to add four campus police officers plus $380,000 for equipment and three new counselors.

Republican lawmakers have emphasized the need to cut spending across the government and block increases in tuition and fees for college students.

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