The university could be facing a 15 percent tuition hike along with another budget cut in an effort to cope with the economic crisis.
Student senators discussed the issue at Monday’s senate meeting.
The senate chamber was at full capacity as senators discussed budget cuts and tuition hikes.
Parliamentarian Quintin Haynes along with Student Body President Andrew Collins presented the issue to the student senators and gallery guests.
According to Haynes, Florida A&M University is in support of the state senate bill 762 which will allow the board of trustees to raise tuition by a maximum of 15 percent.
But according to Haynes, some students will not be affected by the increase.
“If you have been in school as far as July 1, 2001, this bill will not affect you and that is if you maintained continuous enrollment at a university in the state of Florida,” Haynes said.
Haynes said that five universities have already implemented the bill, but he believes FAMU will pass it.
“FAMU is in support of it. I know for a fact that the students are not in favor of it but the administration is,” Haynes said.
While Haynes understands the students concern over the increase, he also understands how the university is funded and the need for the increase.
“The main thing we want the legislature to know is that we can’t take another budget cut,” Haynes said. “Currently, the state funds FAMU around 140 million dollars and currently
FAMU operates on a total of 440 million dollars.
As you can see, the state already doesn’t fund us nearly half of what we operate on. 25 percent of it comes from tuition, and currently 76 percent of FAMU’s students are from Florida.”
Haynes went on to further address the problem with FAMU’s funding and the need for not only a tuition increase, but a state budget increase for the college.
“That 440 million is basically us operating what we have now.
We would need to close down some programs or cut back on a lot.
All this new construction and all these new projects would need to be placed on hold if we get another budget cut,” Haynes said. “Can you image our campus half done? It’s already in need of some infrastructure and renovation. [But] education is first. We have to make sure our programs are accredited and we’re able to pay the teachers.”
Collins spoke about the ramifications of the budget cuts if they occur and the possibility of summer session A being cancelled.
“I don’t have to reiterate how drastic of an impact will have on our students,” Collins said. “Its not to say that anybody is doing something they shouldn’t be doing in the administration or legislation, that’s just the way the economy is right now.”
Collins mentioned that the governor proposed back in November that the legislature might raise tuition annually by 15 percent until Florida is matched with the national average.
Haynes reinforced how important that tuition increase will be for the university because of state funding.
“With the state cutting back on budget and funding us less, where else are we going to get the money to keep our lights on? Understanding that, I think we really have to look at where we’re going to place the burden at,” Haynes said.
“Are we going to place the burden on the student or the state? For the past coupe of years, FAMU has been getting budget cuts.”