Johnson details issues facing UF Student Senate

Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 10:00 p.m.

University of Florida student body president Jordan Johnson Tuesday night outlined what he expects to be the issues facing the Student Senate during the spring semester -- including student health insurance and new sources for textbooks.

A new open source textbook program is being developed by UF that would make digital textbooks available that would be low-cost or free. These textbooks would be non-proprietary and could be updated easily from year to year. The program would be linked to the online digital repository now available to Florida educators and schools called the The Orange Grove.

The goal of the partnership would be to reduce the cost of books to students by offering texts that are more accessible and affordable by giving it them an electronic format, according to the Orange Grove Web site.

Johnson also discussed how the state Legislature is set to debate this spring whether or not to require university students to have health insurance.

Requiring health insurance would raise the cost of going to school by 5 to 7 percent, according to a study cited by Johnson.

The study concluded that such a cost is significantly less than what a student without health insurance would incur if an emergency were to arise, Johnson said.

About 20 percent of students at UF currently do not have any sort of health insurance, according to Johnson.

FSU is currently the only state university that requires all students to have health insurance.

"This will be one of the biggest conversations in higher education this year," said Johnson about student health insurance. "And it's important for us to be leaders in this conversation."

Meantime, a resolution honoring UF students who passed away recently was passed unanimously during Tuesday night's meeting.

The resolution honored Daniel J. Arena, Samantha Grosse and Erin Pelton, each of who died in recent months.

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