Proposed financial cuts to Francis Marion University are not as severe as initially feared, according to FMU President Fred Carter.
“So far we’ve suffered a 5 percent cut,” Carter said. “I thought it was likely we might lose as much 15 percent, so we actually came out of this phase pretty well.”
The first cut of the budget from the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee has recently been released, and is the latest step in a long legislative process.
The process started weeks ago, with sub-committees hearing applications from institutions that receive financial support from the state of South Carolina.
Compiling this information, the full Ways and Means Committee created the first cut for the state budget.
In the next couple of weeks the budget will be put before the full House of Representatives and opened up for debate.
If the budget passes this stage, it will then be left to South Carolina’s Senate to pass it.
“All public universities took some cuts in the budgets,” Carter said. “We took a cut of 5 percent, which was among the smallest in the state, so we were are very, very proud of that.”
The Department of Business Affairs declined to comment in detail about the effects this will have on Francis Marion University, saying only that “anything at this point would be speculation.”
However, a source within the university’s administration said that a team is going over the proposal now.
“Some of the money is allocated for a specific purpose, and we are trying to work out a budget for Francis Marion taking that into account,” the source said.
Public finances account for only part of the money needed to run the institution.
Fundraising over the past seven years has raised $60 million from private contributors. This money has been used to finance such projects as the new athletics center, the performing arts center, the nursing building and renovations.
These fundraising efforts, coupled with state financial support, have meant that Francis Marion University has been able to keep tuition rates low, but future rates are uncertain.
“We would love to set the tuition rates now so that students can plan better, but we can’t do that until the State finalizes the budget,” Director of Admissions Perry Wilson said.
The final approval of the budget is expected in June.