Bryant insures university’s regrowth

Though many problems and changes have affected the state of FAMU since Interim President Castell V. Bryant took office, she has good news.

“We are ending the (fiscal) year in the black.”

Bryant said in spite of the fact that at the beginning of the year the university posted budgets which showed deficits- through measures such as the freeze on university spending and employee audit, FAMU is in a better financial state.

While some have speculated that enrollment at FAMU has decreased, Bryant said it is too soon to determine the true enrollment numbers because many students are still registering for classes.

As of August 30, “11,476 students were enrolled which is less than at the end of fall 2004 when we had 13,000 students. We really need to see what next week will bring,” Bryant said.

A number of students have not yet registered because they owe the university money, a fact which Bryant said the university made many of these students aware of last spring.

The president decided to extend registration until next Tuesday because the financial aid office was swamped with students who waited until the last minute to file for financial aid and many students are unable to register until they pay FAMU the money they owe.

The university is moving forward according to Bryant, and a number of changes and plans are underway.

FAMU is not asking for any new buildings this year because the state has determined that the university is not using full utilization of some older buildings.

“We’ve received funds from the legislature to renovate GEC (the Gore Education Complex), Diamond Hall, Young Hall, Sampson Hall and the commons building, which will become an academic support building,” Bryant said.

The president’s goal is for the three dormitories to be inhabited by next year

This is the first year for FAMU to collect data for the next SACS visit in 2008, which determines the university’s reaccredidation. While SACS is visiting this year concerning issues from the last visit in 1998, SACS officially visits FAMU every ten years and returns only when past problems need to be resolved.

Bryant said the university is beginning to plan for the 2008 visit, recently appointing Vivian Hobbs to head the preparation.

“FAMU is now in a challenging state which holds a lot of promise and wonderful opportunity. We need to take a look at problems realistically and meet challenges head on.”

As the school year begins Bryant wants students to remember why they are at FAMU. “Students are here to get a good education and to take advantages of the opportunities available to them.”

“I want our students to leave here with a comfort level that they are just as prepared as students from other universities,” Bryant said.

Bryant’s role as university president is not permanent, but she wants FAMU to be in better shape when she leaves.

“I want FAMU to be solid financially and to have compliance with all requirements to keep from being in trouble. I want FAMU to live by the same rules other universities live by and what’s required by the state.”

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