FMU freezes tuition

Kei'yona Jordon, Copy Editor

In a time of great political and economic uncertainty, the FMU board of trustees announced the school’s decision to freeze tuition for the third year in a row on March 11.

FMU President Fred Carter said there are students on campus who have never experienced a raise in tuition. 

Every year, FMU students are responsible for three sets of cost: basic tuition, housing and general fees.

“We are freezing everything,” Carter said. “Students will not have to pay more for anything.”

Carter said because 95 percent of the students are South Carolina residents, there is not much out-of-state tuition coming to the school.

“Our students simply just can’t afford it,” Carter said. “And we understand that, which is why we’ve done our best to keep those costs as constrained as possible.”

Carter said the school froze tuition last year because of COVID 19, and the year before that, they froze it because they had enough resources to avoid raising it.

“If we are doing well enough financially, then we don’t have an obligation to increase the tuition,” Carter said.

The tuition freeze allows employees and staff to keep a steady income, while ensuring students don’t have to borrow more money or continuously raise the amount of loan money they have to pay back at the end of their college career.

“Sooner or later, you’re going to have to pay that money [back],” Carter said. “So the less money you have to borrow, the better off you are.”

Carter said during normal school years the school raises tuition to accommodate the constant increase in food, electrical and health costs.

Carter also said the school typically only raises tuition about 2 percent a year.

“It’s been a long time since we raised tuition more than two percent,” Carter said.

In addition to freezing tuition, FMU is offering students a new health care plan at no extra cost to them in the fall. Amid the pandemic, FMU was able to make space for Hope Health to operate a full clinic on campus.

Carter said the university was able to offer all students, faculty and staff a basic treatment plan with no extra cost in tuition for students.

“Not only is tuition frozen but we were able to stretch the existing tuition further to include those extra services,” Carter said.

Carter said those services will include basic treatment and preventative care services.

“So, if you’re a diabetic, you can go over and work with them relative to a diabetic plan, keeping blood sugar in, being tested periodically and all that will be at no cost,” Carter said.

Many FMU students expressed happiness about not having to borrow more money for tuition.

Meisha Coles, a sophomore math education major, said she will be able to pay for another year of college because of the freeze.

“As a first-generation college student, it is very difficult having to figure out on my own how I can afford school or what loans I need to take,” Coles said. “The tuition freeze gives me the opportunity to only have to worry about making the same amount of money.”

Additionally, the board approved a proposal to add the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. It is now under consideration at the state level, and if approved, it would be FMU’s second doctoral program.