FLORENCE---The Francis Marion University Board of Trustees adopted a $28.7 million operating budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year that includes a 6 percent tuition and fee increase.
The fee increase could be altered pending the resolution of a legal dispute between the governor and the legislature on whether Barnwell Funds should be returned to the state’s general fund. FMU’s share of the Barnwell Funds is $480,000.
Gov. Hodges had asked all state universities to return a total of $28 million in Barnwell funds to the state’s general fund. However, in letters from Sen. Hugh Leatherman, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Robert W. Harrell Jr., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, all state universities were told that any “transfer of these duly appropriated funds is without authority and is contrary to the Appropriations Act” of the General Assembly.
FMU’s fee increase is based upon returning the $480,000. Should this dispute be ruled in favor of the universities keeping the money, the trustees indicated that another called meeting would be necessary to lower tuition and fees for the spring 2002 semester.
Effective fall semester, tuition for full-time South Carolina residents will increase $105 per semester, going from $1,750 to $1,855 per term or from $3,500 to $3,710 per year.
Even with the fee increase, the cost to attend Francis Marion University will be second lowest of South Carolina’s state colleges and universities.
FMU tuition and fees account for approximately $11.5 million of the university’s 2001-2002 budget. State appropriations total $16.6 million, and just over a half million dollars come from auxiliaries and other sources.
In other fee adjustments, the trustees approved a 10 percent increase in housing fees, a $3 increase in the transcript fee and a $5 increase in the application fee. Housing costs will increase $86 per semester for students living in the four-student apartment, $91 per semester for students living in the two-student apartments, and $86 per semester for students living in the residence halls. There will be no increase in meal plans for students, and the student activity fee was reduced $10 per semester.