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No Tuition Increase at Eastern Florida for Third Straight Year

June 16, 2014 - No tuition hike for students, a cost of living payment for staff and expanding the college’s security force to bolster safety are key features in the new fiscal year budget for Eastern Florida State College.

The college’s Board of Trustees approved the $74.4 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15 on Monday. It will go into effect July 1.

College President Dr. Jim Richey said the budget fully funds all current and future academic programs, including the 22 new programs that the college has started the past two years.

Among those are nine Bachelor Degree tracks in Business, Health Care and Computer Information Technologies.

“With this budget, Eastern Florida remains highly affordable for students and provides them access to new academic programs that can result in finding a great job,” said Richey. “These are the kinds of opportunities that are making a difference in our community and region.”

Key budget provisions include:
• No tuition increase for the third straight year, a period that corresponds to Richey’s time as president.

Tuition will remain $78.84 per credit hour for Florida residents.

The capital improvement fee will go up $2 per credit hour, bringing the total tuition and fee cost from $104 to $106 per credit hour for lower division Florida residents, which is in line with other state colleges in Central Florida.

The fee increase was necessary because of cuts in state funding for building maintenance, repair and construction projects, said Richey.

“The additional funds will allow the college to continue to improve its critical infrastructure needs through remodeling, roof repairs, maintenance and other work,” said Richey.

The total per credit rate for upper division Florida residents will be reduced to $128.51, which is in line with other institutions in the 28-member Florida College System and in compliance with revised state statutes.

"The entire college staff has done an excellent job of keeping tuition low so students can get the education they need to gain a good job after graduation," said trustee Steve Charpentier.

• A one-time cost of living payment for non-probationary full-time and part time staff except the president. Full-time staff will receive a $1,000 lump sum payment and regular part-time staff will receive $500, both in July.

The cost-of-living payment is the second time college staff has received a COLA since 2008. It gained a 3.5 percent across the board increase in 2012. In a related area, adjunct faculty will receive a 4 percent pay increase, the first time they have received a boost since 2006.

Furthermore, the college will pay an expected increase in health insurance costs for full-time faculty and staff in the new year.

• Expanding the college’s Security Force by adding 15 part-time officers, one full-time officer and creating an 18-member Reserve Force, increasing the force’s total size from 51 to 85 officers to further strengthen safety.

The expansion augments the college’s partnership with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments last year that led to police substations and increased patrols on all of its four campuses.

The expansion will allow the college to maintain two officers on duty overnight on all campuses.

It also calls for maintaining five officers on duty during the day and evening on the Cocoa and Melbourne campuses, and three officers during the day and evening on the Titusville and Palm Bay campuses.

“The safety of everyone at the college is paramount and the larger force will enhance the strong protections we already have in place,” Richey said.

The expansion will cost the college $600,000, which includes the additional personnel and spending to upgrade equipment such as radios and patrol golf carts.