Budget deficit forces hold on services funds

The dispensing of Florida A&M University’s activities and service fees are delayed in order to pay off a deficit from last semester’s A&S fees.

Having a total budget of $3.2 million in A&S funds to last for three quarters, SGA gave $1.9 million to various organizations in the fall semester, although they only acquired $1.4 million through A&S fees.

SGA representative Gallop Franklin, 20, a junior pharmacy student from Tallahassee, said the deficit results from the amount of students who have not paid their tuition.

Franklin recalled this same issue occurred before while he was a freshman.

“What happened my freshman year is that we not only overprojected but the students that were enrolled on campus…everyone did not pay their tuition,” Franklin said. “If you don’t pay your tuition, then your A&S funds aren’t going to be collected by the University, which is then released by the student government.”

SGA Comptroller Morris Hawkins, 34, a senior business administration student from Avon Park, said he was first notified of the situation Friday. He then notified Student Body President Monique Gillum and Senate President Mellori Lumpkin.

A&S fees are important because the money funds various organizations and student activities. If not collected, organizations might not flourish, workers go unpaid and student activities and programs might cease to exist.

“Everybody must pay A&S fees,” Hawkins said. “Those fees do go back to you. It’s not like it’s going to be held somewhere and you’ll never see it. Those fees go back to you in programming; those fees go back to you when you get into games free for all athletic games.”

Interim Budget Director Ronica Mathis said the shortage should not affect any of the activities within the University.

“The A&S funds comes through the SGA, where they [SGA] come together and have budget hearings for the organizations on campus that qualify for the firm, and they first signs off on it,” Mathis said.

But apparently, the process can affect students and some of the activities at FAMU.

“The A&S funds being held affect all students,” Hawkins said. “You probably won’t see much programming until the funds are released again and that may be sometime in late January,” he added.

Although Franklin said he believes the situation occurred through some students not paying tuition, Hawkins believes it is because of enrollment.

“Right now, since enrollment is up and down, there have been some changes [in the process], that’s the only reason why,” Hawkins said. “Once our enrollment increases and becomes stable, most likely it [A&S funds] will not be affected anymore.”

Franklin, however, said this is not the case because the present freshman class is bigger than the one before.

“This incoming freshman class is larger than our class the year before that so I’m not going to say it’s due to enrollment,” Franklin said. “I strongly believe it’s the amount of people who didn’t pay their tuition.”

Hawkins said there is a solution to the current problem.

“Right now, based on this spring semester when all A&S fees money has come in, they’re going to apply that to the deficit and after the deficit, they are going to determine how much they will release after that is paid off,” Hawkins said.

Franklin also mentioned that a strategy was set to prevent the problem from happening again like it did two years ago.

“I guess now, the structure wasn’t strong enough to uphold whatever’s going on,” Franklin said.

Hawkins said he hopes there will be a full report as early as next week at the Senate meeting.

“I encourage everyone to come to the Senate meeting to understand where your A&S dollars are going and the status of your A&S dollars,” Hawkins said.