Florida A&M University is seeking more than $14 million in its legislative budget requests to maintain its focus on student success.
The money would go toward such expenses as hiring more counselors, professors and making upgrades in technology.
The $14.3 million request, approved Thursday by its board of trustees, includes:
$1,050,000 in total recurring money to academic coaches and 100 peer mentors/tutors to work with students needing academic assistance.
$7,860,000 in new and recurring funding to hire 25 new faculty members in health sciences, mathematic, cybersecurity, business analytics, sustainability and environmental sciences.
That includes money to create new learning centers, the hiring of support staff and upgrading laboratories and technology.
$2,995,000 in recurring funds to create and offer online courses, especially in the STEM sciences. Money also would be used for faculty training and developing and technology.
$2,389,000 in towards technology and security updates as guard against cyberattacks.
“Our request is designed to help us improve on our key metrics, which include our four-year graduation rate,” said Maurice Edington, vice president for strategic planning, analysis and institutional effectiveness.
Trustees also approved without discussion a request of $1.7 million toward operations for agricultural research, education and training for its Brooksville Agricultural and Environmental Research Station in Hernando County.
Former Florida FAMU President Fred Gainous was hired as its executive director last fall.
Both requests now will be forward to the Board of Governors.
Money needed to address student success.
FAMU’s four-year graduate rate for 2013-2017 is 21.8 percent. That measure is critical as the Board of Governors now will measure universities on the percentage of students graduating in four years rather than the previous six-year measure.
Trustee Matthew Carter, speaking during a committee meeting Wednesday, said it is important that FAMU has the resources and structure in place to meet the new goal.
“It has been discussed and it’s not like we didn’t know it was coming down,” he said. “We’ve got to have this deep down in our operational culture. The national model is graduating in four years.”
The request comes as the university has received word it has improved its scoring on the 10-performance metrics approved by the Board of Governors, who will release how SUS members fared later this month.
Edington said FAMU’s score of 72 is the highest it has received, but the university is not sure where it places until the BOG releases its report later this year.
The university performed better on seven of the 10 metrics. It fell short on percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded with programs of strategic emphasis, university access rate and percentage of research and development expenditures funded from external sources.
After making gains in 2016 and receiving $11.5 million in additional funding, FAMU fell from eighth place to 10th last year, causing it to lose out on additional performance funding.
Florida A&M University, on the other hand, lost gains it made last year by placing 10th this year, dropping from its eighth-place position.
Edington said an increase in points scored doesn’t necessarily mean a guaranteed reward. It depends on how well the other universities fared in meeting metrics.
“Last year, a 72 would have gotten us money, this year, with a 72, I don’t know,” he said, adding the minimum number of points to qualify for funding varies from year to year.
“Two years ago, we had 65 and got $11 million, last year, we got 65 and we were in the bottom third.”
Contact senior writer Byron Dobson at [email protected] or on Twitter @byrondobson.
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