FLORENCE – The Francis Marion University Board of Trustees adopted a $48.5 million operating budget for the university’s 2009-2010 fiscal year during its quarterly meeting Friday (June 19) that included a tuition increase of 3.6 percent per semester. This is the lowest increase the university has had in 10 years.
University officials constrained the increase to no more than the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), an inflationary gauge widely used by higher education institutions. The tuition increase will yield $924,000 in new revenues.
“We have made every effort to keep our tuition as low as possible given the current economic climate,” said FMU President Fred Carter.
In 1998-99, 42 percent of FMU’s budget came from tuition and 56 percent from state appropriations. In 2008-09, 64 percent came from tuition and 34 percent from state appropriations.
FMU’s $48.5 million projected budget includes a base state appropriation of $14.7 million, $29.1 million in student fees, $2.1 million in other revenue, and $2.6 million in non-recurring stimulus revenue. The largest part of the budget goes for personnel costs of $34.7 million and $11.2 million for operating expenses. Planned stimulus projects are estimated at $2.6 million.
In other business, the trustees approved a resolution naming university facilities in honor of faculty, staff and community members. A dedication ceremony was held for the honorees following the meeting.
The names of Roger W. Allen Jr., Alice B. Beaty, Marian Cusac, Dorothy King and Neal D. Thigpen are displayed on the five buildings in the Forest Villas Apartment Complex, while the community center bears the name of Joseph E. Heyward.
The Garden Courtyard project of the FMU Performing Arts Center will be named for Beverly Hazelwood and Starr Ward, both of whom have made considerable contributions to the arts in Florence.
In addition, the PAC’s amphitheater will be named the BB&T Amphitheater in appreciation of the corporate gift of $325,000 to fund this outdoor space.
It was decided at the meeting that FMU will become a smoke-free campus as of Aug. 1 to help reduce the health and safety risks associated with smoking and ensure a healthier environment for faculty, staff and students.
The university will implement a new smoke-free policy that will affect all grounds, buildings and vehicles owned or controlled by FMU, and follows a series of university steps to curb smoking on campus.
In an effort to assist and encourage smokers to kick the habit, FMU continues to offer faculty and staff free behavioral sessions and selected over-the-counter smoking cessation products. University Student Health Services also offers behavioral counseling and discounts on smoking cessation aids for students.
Trustees also approved a resolution establishing the specialist in school psychology degree.
A slate of new officers for next year was also approved. They are William W. Coleman of Florence as chairman; Patricia C. Hartung of Greenwood as vice chairman; and Carolyn Shortt of Laurens as secretary.