10501 FGCU Blvd S., Fort Myers, FL
Trustees discussed alternative plans today should the state deny $13 million in recurring funds outlined in FGCU's 2012 legislative agenda.
Plan B is to raise tuition in the double digits, at or near the state's 15 percent yearly cap on tuition increases.
Plan C is to continue cost-saving measures, including increasing class sizes and slowing enrollment growth, President Wilson Bradshaw said at the end of today's workshop.
"We will continue to realize new efficiencies," Bradshaw said. "Class size will have to go up a tick or two and also we will have a slower rate of growth. That cuts into revenue, but we wont' have as many students coming in each year."
A few board members expressed concern about hiking tuition.
"I am absolutely not supportive of it and do not think we can sustain that year after year after year," said board member Edward Morton. "So that brings us to Plan C if that full 15 percent doesn't come about."
Trustees also discussed raising student credit hour fees as FGCU is below the national average. Board member Robert Wells suggested discussing those fees.
"I don't see any end to state cuts as (student) fees increase," Wells said. "I'm concerned in the long run if you continue to put pressure and cut, cut, cut. I know it's a negative thing in the press, raising fees. The only alternative I've heard is cutting more on facilities or putting more students in classes."
Board member Douglas Harrison agreed touching again on the issue of placing the burden on students through tuition increases.
"No one, I think, would suggest that tuition increases are anything but unsavory," said board member Douglas Harrison. "I echo your concern about the dynamic and finding the smartest ways to maintain the quality we want to achieve."
President Bradshaw said an increasing number of students have applied at FGCU, proving the current tuition rates are not a hindrance.
"We're admitting as many students as we can accommodate now," Bradshaw said. "If we had more capacity, we could admit even more students. The number of applications this year were higher than last year. Our product is highly desired by an increasing amount of students and outside our region. We're not at a price point where it's an obstacle to attending FGCU."
The regular board meeting continues until 1:45 p.m.
Growth was a common thread during workshop presentations this morning at Florida Gulf Coast University's quarterly Board of Trustees meeting.
Presenters discussed plans for building and adding beds to campus as student enrollment continues to grow.
Mike Rollo, vice president of student affairs, said his office strives for a 102 percent occupancy rate for on-campus housing. There are 3,700 beds on campus now with plans for 500 more next year as the university competes with off-campus housing and private dwellings.
"Our goal is 102 percent because we know we have attrition," Rollo said. "The goal is high 90s by the end of the year."
Ron Toll, provost and vice president for academic affairs, showed comparisons between FGCU's enrollment and other state universities.
"FGCU has had the greatest increase and is no longer the smallest university," Toll said of the past 10 years. "We will soon pass (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University). With a goal of 20,000 (students) you can see what that would do in terms of other universities."
Included in that graph were three other universities, the highest of which, University of North Florida, has a little more than 16,000 students.
Since 2007, the university has added six new academic programs with plans for five in the 2011-2012 school year and three for the 2012-2013 school year. Included in that list is a doctorate of nursing practice for the current academic year.
The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees continues this afternoon.