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Brogan mends universities' ties with lawmakers

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Brogan mends universities' ties with lawmakers

When former Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan became the state university system's chancellor three months ago, he faced an imposing list of financial and political problems.

Tight budgets have meant enrollment caps at most of the 11 schools. The Bright Futures scholarship program that's popular among middle-class parents is outstripping the Florida Lottery's ability to pay for it.

The state's medical schools are churning out more graduates than Florida has places where they can get hospital residency training. That means new physicians educated largely at taxpayer expense are leaving a state with a doctor shortage.

Brogan's bosses on the Board of Governors, which oversees the universities, have raised the hackles of lawmakers through a lawsuit challenging the Legislature's authority to set tuition and make other key decisions affecting universities.

The board hired Brogan, also a former state education commissioner whose last job was president of Florida Atlantic University, because he's a political and educational insider who can use those relationships to mend fences and find solutions.

"Frank Brogan has all the experience he needs to deal with higher education," said state Sen. Don Gaetz, a harsh critic of Brogan's predecessor, Mark Rosenberg. "Frank will be a very different chancellor because he doesn't just come from one perspective. He understands issues 360 degrees around."

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