FLORENCE---The Francis Marion University Board of Trustees unanimously approved an increase in tuition and fees and meal costs for the 2004-2005 academic year during its quarterly meeting Friday (May 28).
Tuition and fees will increase 9 percent per semester. The increase means that full-time South Carolina resident undergraduates will pay $2,770 in required tuition and fees per semester, up from the current $2,541. Full-time out-of-state students will now pay $5,472.50 per semester.
The trustees also approved a 3 percent increase in campus meal plans for next year. The 14-meal plan will increase from $1,018 to $1,049 per semester, and the 19-meal plan will go from $1,095 to $1,128 per semester.
Over the last few years, FMU’s state appropriation has been has been reduced by 25 percent, a cut more than $4 million.
The fee increase will yield $1,536,095 in revenues. Those fees will allow the university to offset reductions in state appropriations; provide a pay increase for faculty and staff; annualize personal service obligations; hire new faculty and staff; cover projected hikes in employer benefit obligations; provide performance bonuses; appoint three additional faculty research scholars; and provide a contingency fund.
George McIntyre of Bennettsville, chairman of the board’s finance committee, said that despite the increase in tuition and fees, the cost of an education at FMU is still one of the best educational buys in the state of South Carolina. He also pointed out that there have been increases in financial support programs for FMU students to help them with additional costs.
More than $23 million in some type of financial assistance was awarded to FMU students during the 2003-2004 year, and that number is expected to increase next fiscal year. This financial support comes in the form of federal grants and loans, state LIFE and HOPE Scholarships and Palmetto Fellowships, institutional scholarships, and student work-study programs.
In other business, the trustees:
• approved a resolution reaffirming university policies regarding calculation of grade point averages, following the legislature’s passage of the 2004 Life Sciences Act which establishes a different method of determining grade point averages for LIFE scholarship eligibility.
• passed a resolution thanking the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation for its $5 million gift, authorizing the construction of a nursing building on campus, contingent on appropriate state approvals, and authorizing the creation of a Department of Nursing within the College of Liberal Arts.
The trustees also learned that the university’s five-year capital campaign has reached $17.1 million, 143 percent of its $12 million goal with two years left. It was reported to the trustees that summer school enrollment is ahead of last year, that applications for fall semester are up for the fifth straight year, and the number of registered students is up 6.4 percent over last fall.
In his report to the board, FMU President Fred Carter thanked State Sen. Hugh Leatherman for helping with several university initiatives in the legislature. He also thanked outgoing faculty chair Charlene Wages who is stepping down after four years in that position.
Carter also told the trustees that he was appointing a committee to study the future of athletics at Francis Marion. He charged the committee with making recommendations on three topics: the divisional status of the athletic program, the conference affiliation and the appropriate mix of intercollegiate sports offered by FMU.
Carter named McIntyre to chair the committee with Athletic Director Murray Hartzler serving as vice chair. Alumni and former athletes Wayne Huggins and Dr. Robert Moore, and Joe Heyward, vice president of student affairs at FMU, were also appointed to the committee. Carter said that additional people would be appointed to the committee later. He asked the committee to make its recommendations sometime this fall.
The trustees will hold their summer board meeting Aug. 5-6 at Wampee.
#179 / 5-28-04