TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Out-of-state educators have a message for those questioning Florida’s education system: come join us.

“I know that the students of New College, who are a lot like the students of Hampshire,” said Ed Wingenbach. “Chose New College to be part of a particular kind of community.”

Wingenbach is the president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He’s making a direct pitch to New College of Florida students, whose school is currently in Gov. Ron DeSantis’s crosshairs over a diversity battle.

“If the new trustees are successful, they will not have access to that kind of education,” said Wingenbach. “So we wanted to make sure they had a sanctuary to really continue learning in the way that they hoped to.”

Hampshire is also offering a tuition match for New College students — no increase or extra fees if they leave Florida.

“You have a place to come to complete your education,” said Wingenbach. “Without having to endure financial hardship because of the actions of your governor.”

But some students understand moving is just a fantasy, whether it comes down to the cost of moving or how much time they have left in school.

“Transfer of New College, but then go where?” asked Dylan Hogan. “Ron’s planning on doing this to everyone.”

Fourth-year Hogan said people come to New College for specific reasons, especially its location.

“I kind of know that New College students,” Hogan explained. “They’re going to stay here.”

Hogan said going to Hampshire might be a better option for students who are already coming to New College from out of state.

“I’m bound here,” Hogan said. “I’m a Florida resident. So there’s no place I’m really going to flee for a better deal than if I just stayed in Florida.”

Hampshire isn’t the only school trying to recruit New College students. Binghamton University in upstate New York is also making its pitch to Florida students and educators.

In a statement to 8 On Your Side, New College said:

We are not sure how the northeast colleges intend to lure away students who have come to Florida for our higher education excellence, coupled with our weather and the amazing location of Sarasota, Florida.  All of these invitations and stunts are for media attention; they are not truly meant in the best interest of the students. Our students’ future is secure, and our growth and success are inevitable as a beacon of free speech, free inquiry, and free debate in Florida and beyond.

New College of Florida