Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Appropriations bill includes $1M to expand online course offerings at FAMU

(L-R) FAMU VP for Research Timothy Moore, Rep. Ramon Alexander, Interim President Larry Robinson
The new Florida General Appropriations Act (SB 2500) includes $1,000,000 to help Florida A&M University expand its online course offerings.

Interim President Larry Robinson submitted the funding request to state Rep. Ramon Alexander, D-Tallahassee, in January. Alexander then filed a bill to seek the money (HB 2137).

Robinson and Alexander both wanted $5M in nonrecurring dollars for the project. But that amount was reduced to $1M during the budget negotiations.

“The investment will enable FAMU to increase online offerings in areas of strategic emphasis including [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)], offer additional high quality undergraduate online degree programs and increase graduation rates,” Robinson wrote in the written request.

Robinson added that “Increased and convenient access to higher education, regardless of where students may live or their family or work obligations, helps to create a strong workforce and to attract businesses that provide high-skill, high-wage jobs that drive today's economy.”

The written request by Robinson stated that the funds will help FAMU with three Florida Board of Governors performance metrics: “Percent of Bachelor's Graduates Employed and/or Continuing their Education Further 1 Year after Graduation,” “Median Wages of Bachelor's Graduates Employed Full-time one year after,” and “Bachelor's Degrees Awarded in Areas of Strategic Emphasis (includes STEM).”

FAMU will use the $1M to pay for equipment, consultants, and salary/benefits for personnel involved in the project.

Gov. Rick Scott will decide whether line item veto the funds or let them stay in the state budget.

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