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If you like the arts, Florida may not be the place for you

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 2:51 p.m. MDT

Devin Richey, a freshman at the University of Utah,  speaks with a friend in the Olpin Union at the University of Utah on March 27, 2009. Many Universities, like the U, charge different tuition depending on major, but Florida's new policy would make majors they deem unemployable the most expensive. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Devin Richey, a freshman at the University of Utah, speaks with a friend in the Olpin Union at the University of Utah on March 27, 2009. Many Universities, like the U, charge different tuition depending on major, but Florida's new policy would make majors they deem unemployable the most expensive. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

If you go to school in Florida, having a passion for the arts could require a pricey investment.

If a proposal being studied by a task force in Florida is adopted, universities will be able to charge higher fees to undergrads seeking degrees in fields the state deems less employable, like Art History, according to an article in The Atlantic. Other non-Florida schools choose to do tuition differential another way.

Florida’s incentive is to guide undergraduates to major in fields like science, technology, engineering and math by making tuition cheaper for those areas.

However, the University of Utah has had success using a different approach — fields with higher employment potential are more expensive.

At the U., tuition is higher for business and engineering undergraduate degrees while all others have the same lower fee. However, graduate degree programs tend to vary widely in their tuition charges.

The U. degrees that charge higher fees are almost opposite of what is being proposed in Florida. In these programs, most which have changed to the differential cost model within the past 10 years, increasing the tuition has been beneficial.

In this photo provided by Adrian College, students work at the main lecture hall in the school's center for communication and media arts in Adrian, Mich. For today’s increasingly career-focused students, a liberal arts education is a tough sell. So, many small liberal arts colleges such as Adrian are shifting toward a pre-professional curriculum. (AP Photo/Adrian College, Matt Gaidica Photography) (Matt Gaidica, AP) In this photo provided by Adrian College, students work at the main lecture hall in the school's center for communication and media arts in Adrian, Mich. For today’s increasingly career-focused students, a liberal arts education is a tough sell. So, many small liberal arts colleges such as Adrian are shifting toward a pre-professional curriculum. (AP Photo/Adrian College, Matt Gaidica Photography) (Matt Gaidica, AP)

“It has increased enrollment,” said Sandy Hughes, the director of budget at the U. “There are lots of factors about that. When the economy is in bad shape, more kids go to school. I think they also accept the extra cost because they see the extra benefit and that’s the ideal situation. “

More expensive graduate programs at the U. include law school, nursing, pharmacy, social work, architecture, business health, MBA, Master of Public Administration, engineering and educational psychology.

A 2011 study by Cornell University researchers found that the U.’s model is the most accepted nationally. The most common differential charges are in business, engineering and nursing. At the time of the survey, 120 public institutions used the differential tuition approach.

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