Florida Higher Education leaders will be voting on September 21 on whether to ask legislators for a 7 percent increase on tuition for in-state undergraduates effective in the 2007-2008 academic year.
If the tuition increase is approved it will be sent to lawmakers for the spring legislative session for a final decision. According to the Florida A & M University website tuition now is $ 101.55 per credit hour. If approved tuition would increase to 108.55 per credit hour. According to the U.S. Department of Education National center for Education Statistics for the year 2003-04, the national average for in-state tuition and fees for a four year institution was $4,587. In that same year the average in-state tuition and fees for a four-year institution in Florida was $2,513. Lawmakers already approved a 3 percent increase for this year citing enrollment growth and higher costs, state officials estimate the tuition increase will bring an additional $ 27 million. Leslie Ann Roberts, Executive Assistant to the President explained that the tuition increase is established by the state legislature. “Neither Dr. Bryant, nor any other president, has authority over tuition rates. University presidents are not consulted on the issue. It is entirely a legislative decision. Dr. Bryant is very much in favor of keeping tuition as reasonable as possible, especially since FAMU has a large number of students who cannot afford high tuition costs,” Roberts explained. Student Body President Phillip Agnew, 21, a fourth-year business administration student from Chicago said he believed that university president, Dr. Castell Bryant sits on the advisory board to the board of governors. “The Florida Student Association has fought against the tuition increase at board meetings and we will continue to fight. What’s the point of increasing the tuition when the amount of aid is not going to be increased,” Agnew explained. “You can only increase the tuition so much before students start taking less hours…the producer of a product can only increase a product to where a consumer won’t buy it. Everything on a university level is increasing, in order to compensate the increases they must charge more money in student fees,” Agnew added. “This week I’m going to speak to officials and let them know how we feel about this issue”, Agnew said. Nakia Daniels, 21, a fourth-year Graphic Design student from Tallahassee believes that if the tuition is increased Florida A & M University will lose a lot of students. Daniels went on to explain that the tuition increase will hurt low-income families and that the increase would take more money out of financial aid. “With us being the number one HBCU, we have higher standings. We already have so many problems with our financial aid and are looked down upon because of that, the tuition increase would add much more stress to an already stressful environment,” Daniels said.
Florida State Student Government President, Christopher Evans, declined to comment.