FLORENCE---The Francis Marion University Board of Trustees voted unanimously May 31 to increase tuition and housing costs for the 2002-2003 school year.
The increase means that full-time South Carolina resident undergraduates will pay $2,170 in tuition and fees per semester, up from the current $1,895. Out-of-state students will pay $4,265 per semester, up from $3,705.
On-campus housing fees will also increase 10 percent per semester. The two-person apartment rate will go from $1,006 to $1,107, the four-person apartment rate goes from $951 to $1,046, and the residence hall rate, including $995 for a full-mean plan, goes from $1,946 to $2,041.
These actions were in response to the General Assembly’s reduction of 8.56 percent in FMU’s base state appropriation for 2002-2003. There will be approximately $1.4 million less in state funds coming to the university next year, as compared to July 1, 2001.
George McIntyre, chairman of the board’s finance committee, said that despite the increase at Francis Marion, the cost of an education at the university is among the lowest in the state.
McIntyre also pointed out that there are increases in scholarship support provided by the lottery proceeds. The LIFE scholarships for next year will award up to $4,700 toward tuition, plus $300 for books, an increase from $3,000. The HOPE scholarships, which are new for in-state students, will provide up to $2,500, plus $150 for books, to any high school student with a B average.
Of the nearly 1,300 admitted freshmen for next fall, more than 500 qualify for LIFE scholarships and another 450 qualify for HOPE scholarships.
FMU President Fred Carter said, “It breaks by heart to raise tuition at all, but there is a certain level of quality which we must maintain."
He said that without the tuition increase, FMU would be at risk to lose accreditation in some of its programs because of cuts in personnel. Carter said that the university has doubled its vacancy rate over the last three years and is now operating with a 14 percent vacancy rate.
“There are some positions that we have to have filled,” he said. “We have to maintain the academic standards.”