June 4, 2020

FMU freezes tuition, fees for second year in a row

FMU freezes tuition, fees for second year in a row

Francis Marion University will freeze tuition and fees for a second straight year.

The university’s trustees affirmed that action at their regular meeting Thursday at FMU, and also heard from FMU President Dr. Fred Carter about plans to resume classes on campus this fall. 

FMU’s fall semester is scheduled to begin Aug. 17. Most classes will be in person on the FMU campus, but new policies and procedures will be in place to keep the entire FMU community safe during the continued threat from the coronavirus outbreak.

FMU was one of just a handful of universities in South Carolina that froze tuition last year and has long maintained the lowest net cost of attendance in the state. Thursday’s vote assures that won’t change.

Carter applauded the trustees’ unanimous decision to affirm the freeze and said it shows FMU’s commitment to its core values.

“This university was created to make a great education accessible to the people of this region and the state, and to us accessibility has always meant affordability,” said Carter. “It would be unconscionable for us to even think about raising tuition right now in these uncertain times when so many are struggling. Our trustees understand that. Many are our alumni. They know what we stand for.”

FMU’s undergraduate tuition remains at $5,192 per semester for in-state students. The vast majority of FMU students are in-state students.

Carter also told the trustees the planning was proceeding apace for the re-opening of the campus in August. FMU was closed by the governor’s executive order in mid-March, and all classes have been held online since then. But that will change in the fall semester.

Traditional in-person instruction will resume in most classes. FMU will offer more online classes than in the past, and some classes will be “hybrids,” which combine online and in-person instruction. Hybrid mixes will vary, depending upon the subject matter and the instructor.

Additionally, FMU will reduce classroom capacities and utilize some large spaces on campus not previously used for instruction as classroom space. These strategies combined will improve distancing during instructional time. 

Capacity will also be reduced in FMU’s residence halls. All residence halls will be open but more single rooms will be available. New dining procedures — more spacing, more takeout dining — will be in place as well.

FMU’s more than 200 athletes will engage in new protocols for practice, training room visits, and games. All are designed to ensure the safety of the athletes, and athletic personnel. 

Additional safety measures include increased sanitization on campus between classes and on weekends; contracting for enhanced campus health services through Hope Health; contracting additional mental health counselors; and instituting a number of special procedures to safeguard the health of FMU athletes.

Details of the plans are being fine-tuned by university staff and will be made public soon. 

Carter also noted that FMU is making a slight alteration to its normal fall schedule. The last day of classes will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Students will not return to campus after that for fall semester. Final exams will be given online or administered during one of the final class sessions. The rest of the schedule is unaltered.