Student body president speaks on legislation

Hello again Rattlers,

This week I hope to expound upon the important initiatives being undertaken within the Florida Legislature and Florida A&M University community that you should be cognizant of.

Differential Tuition On last week, we discussed the progress made by bills in both the Florida House and Senate, providing for differential tuition (15 percent annual increase) in each of the state universities, including FAMU.  Should this bill become a law, its impact, would reverberate throughout the state and here on the Hill.  The bill (SB0762) unanimously passed the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee on April 1. 

Earlier, Sen. Evelyn Lynn (R, Dist. 7) amended the bill to allow the trustees the option of levying increases to specific academic programs.

Perhaps the most harmful impact of the bill will be its effects on Bright Futures and Prepaid Tuition participants.  Though Academic Scholars normally receive a 100 percent scholarship, the award will not pay the tuition differential.  In fact, if the differential tuition bill passes, a 100 percent scholarship could drop to 70 percent in five years.  Students whose parents purchased Florida Prepaid contracts (agreements allowing payment for future college enrollment at current tuition rates) are exempt if the agreement was established prior to July 1, 2007.  All others will have to purchase a supplemental plan.

The bill’s language demands that 30 percent of the differential bolster available financial aid, and for control over the increase to rest in the hands of our Board of Trustees, pending final approval by the Board of Governors, the State University System managing authority.
Technology Fee Last year, the legislature granted universities the right to establish a technology fee beginning fall 2009.  Florida Statute 1009.24 allows for “a technology fee of up to 5 percent of the tuition per credit hour.

“The revenue from this fee shall be used to enhance instructional technology resources for students and faculty.” The bad part is, increased fees for Rattler families and Bright Futures Scholarships will not cover it, similar to differential tuition. 

The question here is can our students afford it? The good part is, the potential $1.5 million generated for FAMU’s money-deprived technology department would herald enhanced learning resources and would embolden our national competitiveness.  The question here is, aren’t our students worth it? Your decision is mine, Rattlers.

FCAT The Department of Education, also contending with a disastrous economy, said on March 31, it is cutting all FCAT summer retakes and part of the science FCAT. 

The Hill The Trustee Board committee meetings will be held throughout the day on Wednesday, April 8 in FAMU’s Grand Ballroom. The main meeting occurs on Thursday, April 9 beginning at 8:30 a.m.  The FAMU community is invited to join the Trustees at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the brand new Teaching Gymnasium on Wednesday, April 8 at 12:30 p.m.  Come out and support your growing campus!

If you have any questions or comments, contact me at or (850) 599-8114.

Andrew Collins is the Student Body President.