Budget Cuts Dig Deep into FAMU; $20 million Reduced

Recently, Florida A&M was hit with a $20 million budget cut from the Florida Legislature.

Administrators say the university doesn’t have a choice but to accept the circumstances. With tuition cost constantly rising over the previous years, many students are on edge about what to expect from such a large budget cut.

In a statement, FAMU President James Ammons said, “While the cuts represent a challenge, over the next several weeks we will put together a solid plan of action for managing the effects of these reductions.”

“It’s not right, it’s not fair,” said Meaghan Taylor, a third-year theatre student from Vero Beach. Taylor said education is constantly being put on the fence first when it comes to cuts. She believes a result of such a major loss for academics will cause some departments, good teachers, and programs to be forced out.

On Monday morning, Board of Trustee members discussed the $40 million decrease in FAMU’s funding from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013 in state appropriations.
The cuts have left students disgusted with the way that Florida allocates money to universities.

“It’s not only disturbing, but disgusting that the government funds toward education are getting shortened every year,” Taylor said.

Florida lawmakers cut $300 million statewide from Florida universities in efforts of restructuring. Florida State University lost the most money of all statewide colleges.
To offset the costs of these significant cuts, FAMU will consider bigger classes and tuition increases. Daren Etienne, a second-year business administration student, is not happy with the legislature’s decision but understands that things could be much worse.

“While I’m upset at losing $20 million in funding, I’m grateful we didn’t get higher cuts like FSU and UF,” Etienne said. “I believe with the new housing, family atmosphere and spirit here at FAMU, recruitment will help ease the burden of the budget cuts.”

In the 2012 – 2013 school year, FAMU’s tuition will cover more than half of operating expenses due to the budget decided on by lawmakers.
Breyon Love, student body president at FAMU and a member of the BOT, cautioned that students would face hikes but that recruitment would be a primary factor in the funding of the university. Ammons made a strong comparison about the budget cuts that affected administrators and students both.

For now, FAMU will have to work with a budget the same size as that of previous years. “The fact that the university will now be at the funding level we were at in ’97-98 I think it is very significant,” Ammons said.