Faculty Senate Discusses Budget Cuts, Tuition Hikes

President James H. Ammons said at a recent Faculty Senate meeting that bills in the Florida House and Senate aim at cutting millions of dollars in funding from Florida’s state universities.

A proposed House bill would cut $140 million from all state universities, with $5 million from FAMU alone. The Senate bill, if passed, would cut another $400 million from universities, roughly $11 million from FAMU.

Given this information, Ammons has suggested a 15 percent tuition increase to the Board of Governors for FAMU. However, Ammons said he believes that the motion will not pass.

“I don’t believe the board will be [in favor of] an increase in tuition, especially after the restructuring we had that laid off so many university faculty and staff,” said Ammons.

However, if both bills pass in the House and Senate, and the BOG agrees to raise tuition, the increase would not cover the money lost to the legislature’s cuts.

“If the senate prevails there is no way we can make up through tuition increase,” said Ammons. “If only the house prevails we can be pretty close.”

President of FAMU’s faculty Elizabeth Davenport asked Ammons about a rumor she heard about the state tapping into state universities’ extra money.

“I heard a common rumor that all universities have reserve funds, and the government is examining the funds of each university, and is looking to borrow from the universities’ reserve funds,” said Davenport.

“Is this true? And how much money will they borrow?” asked Davenport. “And how much money does FAMU have in the reserve?”

Ammons told Davenport that there was some truth to the rumor, and that the university has roughly $40 million in reserved funds. Ammons did not, however, specify whether the government would use that money.

Ammons also said that some universities have more than $100 million in reserve funds.

The meeting continued with Ammons informing the faculty senate that Public Education Capital Outlay funds will end. He did not say when this would happen.

PECO is a state-funded program that provides money to school districts and universities for construction.

Former Senate President Maurice Holder asked Ammons, “What’s the the plan for FAMU’s future?”

Communicating plans to drive enrollment to faculty, Ammons said FAMU wants to recruit more high school graduates.

FAMU’s enrollment on average has increased in the years past. In fall 2011 the university’s enrollment was 13,204.