At the June 1 Board of Trustees meeting, President James Ammons admitted that FAMU took a giant step backwards years ago when it decided to raise its out-of-state tuition rate well above what most non-Florida students can afford.
“We have priced our out-of-state students out of an education,” Ammons told the trustees. “There was a time when our out-of-state tuition was lower than in-state tuition in many states.”
Ammons further explained that many out-of-state students have a hard time paying for school because they come from low-income backgrounds.
“Many come here for one year and then have to leave,” Ammons said.
Most FAMU students come from households that make $30,000 or less per year.
FAMU gives freshmen first priority in campus housing. However, the university only has enough beds for about 21 percent of its student body. After their first year, most out-of-state students struggle to pay for the high cost of off-campus in addition to the rising price of tuition. That forces many of them to either reduce their course loads or drop-out of college.
As part of an effort to increase FAMU’s graduation and retention rates, Ammons recently announced that he plans to grant $3.8M in tuition waivers to out-of-state students next year. He hopes the waivers will give returning out-of-state students more money to buy larger numbers of credit hours and complete their degrees more quickly.
However, tuition will increase by eight percent for new out-of-state students.
Besides hurting the graduation rate, out-of-state tuition increases have also placed a strain on the university’s athletic recruitment budget. The more that out-of-state tuition rises, the more it costs for FAMU to provide scholarships for out-of-state student-athletes.
FAMU’s out-of-state student numbers continue to get smaller as the tuition price gets bigger.
Back in Fall 2000, when the average price for out-of-state full time enrollment was $8,542, FAMU had 3,065 out-of-state students (25.20 percent of the student body). In Fall 2009, when the average price for out-of-state full time enrollment was $14,030, FAMU only brought in 1,793 out-of-state students (14.6 percent of the student body).