I am willing to say that the JSU administration is on our side. On Monday, the JSU Board of Trustees met for over six hours discussing an array of issues that included the university budget, recruitment efforts, and more.
Due to a decline in enrollment, this semester’s revenue was much lower than expected the last time that the board met when they approved the interim budget. JSU enrolled only 8,693 students this fall which is 468 less than last year.
Most university officials say that this drop in enrollment is due to decreased Pell Grant opportunities from the federal government. This has led the university to make about $650,000 in cuts to the current operating budget. What does this mean?
This means that the University will be reducing travel for employees, maintenance and supplies, as well as use of part-time faculty... Not passing the burden onto us.
However, due to the recent tuition rate increase and the instatement of JSU’s first-ever general fee that took effect beginning this semester, revenues have actually risen slightly over what JSU took in last year.
Many have asked where the General Fee and tuition increases have gone in the budget. According to President Meehan, part of the new fees have gone toward fulfilling the contract with RMC to provide our new student health services.
Another portion went to maintaining the student transit system, the Gamecock Express, due to the exhaustion of federal funding for that system. The remainder has contributed to upgrades in technology throughout the university that has assisted in the reaccredidation process.
As a student, I hear a lot of rumors and ill-founded frustrations murmuring around campus. Such rumors like the one I heard recently that “the new WoW Food Truck is a result of tuition increases.”
Most of the time these rumors prove to be false. For example, the WoW Food Truck is contracted through Sodexo, a private business entity.
Therefore, the funds to support it are not a part of our tuition allocations.
Overall, in my experience over the past few years, I have seen an overwhelming sense of concern from the Board of Trustees and the administration for the student body.
However, the absolute best news and most refreshing statement that I have heard in my three years at JSU came from President Meehan this Monday night when he said: “I will not be recommending an increase in tuition for the 2014-2015 year.”
On Monday night State Representative Rod Scott (D-Jefferson), who serves on the state education budget committee, stated at an SGA event that he was “amazed” that JSU has been able to keep tuition so low given the drastic cuts in federal and state funding that all Alabama public universities have faced.
That is when you know you have university leaders that are on your side.