Monday, June 21, 2010

Ammons: FAMU priced out-of-state students out of an education

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).

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

My wife and I experienced that out of state tuition. We had to pay out of state tuition for our son to attend FAMU for 5 years. It was a financial strain on us, but we all wanted him to attend FAMU and we made the sacrifice. So this out of state tuition waiver is a welcome decision. There are some really talented students from out of state that would love to attend FAMU, but the out of state tuition drove them elsewhere. One of my son's high school classmates enrolled in FAMU the same year as my son in 2000. He was a very intelligent student, but had to drop out after the first year because it was too expensive.

Thank you Dr. Ammons. You are truly a class act.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason that FAMU is called F L O R I D A A&M U. The citizens of the state of Florida foot the bill.

Out-of-staters might want to consider attending their state's public university if they don't want to pay out of state fees. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

FAMU can't be the best HBCU in America if it's only limited to students in Florida. FAMU should be trying to bring in as many top-performing students as possible from all areas of the country. This out-of-control out-of-state tuition is holding us back.

Anonymous said...

This is welcoming news. I attended FAMU as an out-of-state student. For 8:27, we all completely understand that FAMU is a F-L-O-R-I-D-A institution funded by F-L-O-R-I-D-A taxpayers and out-of-state students should pay more. We get it. My only gripe is that if a Florida student went to a non-Florida public university it is highly unlikely that their tuition will be 3, 4, or 5+ times more than those in-state students. Out-of-state students expect to pay more than in-state but Florida should work to make it comparable to if their students went to other states.

Anonymous said...

That declining percentage of out-of-state students is bad business. FAMU should aim to keep it no lower than 25%.

Anonymous said...

9:25 am,

considering that Florida's in-state tuition is the lowest in the nation the folks that set Florida's public policy have decided that out-of-state students should pay the full cost of an education and not be subsidized by Florida taxpayers.

As a Florida taxpayer I have no problem with that at all.

It's not like out-of-state students and their parents that choose to enroll aren't aware of the tuition cost prior to enrollment. Really, don't get here and get all shocked and start complaining.

Man up, and pay your dam bill !

Anonymous said...

FAMU should not have a "state-only" mentality. FAMU is a Carnegie Doctoral Research University and we should act like a university that has a national presence. Having a large population of out-of-state students is important because it is a source of diversity and makes for a better exchange of ideas.

Florida gives public universities broad leeway to determine how much they will charge for out-of-state tuition. FAMU should price its tuition in a way that helps it compete for the very best out-of-state students in the nation. We should not just concede the best black students to Harvard, Yale, and the others. That was the whole point of going after the #1 spot in the recruitment of National Achievement Scholars.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! If Florida really funded us properly, the out of state fees might have been seen as a bargain as for some. Also if were able to keep talent in state after graduation, perhaps the naysayers would have an argument worth weight. The out of state students sometimes stay and contribute to Florida's progress. Besides diversity, how you figure we should limit our resources and scope to just serving Floridians-although I agree with in athletics?

Anonymous said...

We need housing waivers.

Anonymous said...

I agree we need to be able to make tuition affordable to out-of-state students but a waiver is not the way to go. It is too subjective and requires some university official to approve who gets a waiver. A better method is to match the student's in-state tuition costs for their home state. For instance if IL in-state tuition is $275 per credit hour, charge any student who graduates from a IL school and has a IL address this amount. This way FAMU is now competitive with their state school. Also, FAMU has the potential to make more money because the student is not paying the FL resident fee which they should not pay because they are not a Florida resident, but this is a happy medium. More than FL in-state but still better than the out-of-state current amount of over $500+ per credit hour..

Anonymous said...

One also has to remember that although it's F-L-O-R-I-D-A, a significant amount of funds the Floridians relish upon come from T-O-U-R-I-S-T-S who are NOT from F-L-O-R-I-D-A. Mickey Mouse and warm beaches are two of the main reasons Floridians don't pay state income taxes...yet. Don't get me wrong; I know the out of state folks are footing all of the bill, but the non-Floridians has some impact too.

Considering the soon-to-be-created Tar Pit that is being created (aka the Gulf of Mexico), everyone needs to remember that everyone is gonna get hit...real bad...and soon. Not just education, but elsewhere too.

So, between students going to schools in other states, students going to schools within their state, and non-Floridians cancelling their vacations and cruises, the in-state students may be feeling the burn soon. And if it happens (and I really hope it does not), don't blame it on Ammons. Not that I am an Ammons fan, but out here, I see you all like to burn him on things.

Anonymous said...

Florida A&M doesn't have to have a "state-only" mentality, its Florida law. Tuition is pretty much set by the state both in-state/out of state.

The doors to University are open, but the tuition is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Most years (like this one), the legislature doesn't require an out-of-state tuition increase. It just sets a cap on how much the tuition rate can be raised. It's up to the university to decide what to do.

FAMU has the flexibility to increase or decrease the out-of-state tuition.

Anonymous said...

And, although we now live out of state, does not mean that we no longer have a connection to the state. Some folks still do have a loyality to FAMU. So we do take some exception to the comments of sending our kids to in state schools. If FAMU was good enough for us, and we instilled FAMU in our kids, why not? But at the same time, we are just as cautious about our money as the next person too.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that a year ago, Miss FAMU, Mr. FAMU, the SGA President, and the SGA VP were all from Georgia. They all were very talented students and several of them are in Law School right.

Anonymous said...

6/22/2010 8:06 AM

You make an excellent point. Atlanta, in particular, has a very strong base of FAMU alumni who do a great job of recruiting students.

Many of those bright students stay at FAMU and then enter grad or professional programs (where they pay a higher rate of tuition).

FAMU should be trying to get a larger share students from metro Atlanta. I think the idea of adjusting the out-of-state rate for Atlanta students to match the in-state rate for Georgia State University ($3,035 for 15 credit hours in 2009-2010) would really help FAMU compete. It's still higher than FAMU's in-state 15 credit hour rate.

Anonymous said...

Hubba 7:0 and 7:38! Thanks for adding much needed substance to this conversation. 8:03a and 11:43p you both are valuable and I wouldn't want you to feel otherwise. We need more if this, much mire communication and dialouge on the dynamics of what's happening in the world and here in our home, thins are about to get airy and we should all have a hand in being prepared at home and in the public. This is about our future and its health.

Anonymous said...

FAMU has the flexibility to increase or decrease the out-of-state tuition.

Not entirely true. While the Legislature doesn't set out of state tuition, statute says that out of state tuition a minimum must cover 100% of the cost of instruction.

FAMU's out-state tuition meets that 100% threshold. Some other schools in the state exceed the 100% minimum threshold.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, which is where waivers would come into play. Consistent and transparent, of course.The BOG and cassie knew what hey were doin when they forced out of sate tuition to rise.

Anonymous said...

As a former out-of-state student I praise this effort.

I remember grad school cost me as much as an Ivy league school until I qualified for in-state.

A closed door approach is bad for the school because it detracts international businesses from recruiting from FAMU.

The most talented students at FAMU generally are the out-of-state kids.

Kick them all out....and in-state students suffer....it has already begun.

Anonymous said...

The most talented students at FAMU generally are the out-of-state kids.

Say what?

Anonymous said...

1:38, yeah that's right. That's not to say that Floridians aren't talented, but FAMU has some very bright out of state students.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember when tuition for in state students was at two levels? There was lower leverl courses (1000-2999) and upper leverl (3000+). Then, they cut it out and made it one flat rate.

Anything can happen. Just imagine if (when?) going to college costs one flat-rate...like private schools. #shudders.

Stand by....

Oh, and 7:38...SMH at the Florida Tar Pit...sad but true. It may be the next tourist attraction...to compete with the La Brea Tar Pits. Now wiki that!

Anonymous said...

Great move !!!