FMU Trustees Approve $165.5 Million Budget | Latest titles
The Francis Marion University Board of Trustees approved a $165.5 million budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year that includes raises and bonuses for full-time employees and major life sciences expansions. environment and health at the university.
Trustees met Thursday afternoon in the Hendrick Room of the Ervin Dining Hall on the university’s main campus.
The budget includes a 3% salary increase and a $1,500 bonus for all full-time university employees. The university will also begin a series of parity and compression increases this fall.
The university is in a healthy financial position, FMU President Fred Carter said. There is $6.2 million in unrestricted operating contingencies and $17.1 million in capital maintenance reserve funds for fiscal year 2022-23.
The university has $7.4 million in its development foundation and the education foundation has $47 million in assets, Carter said.
“The university has never been in better financial shape than it is now,” he said. “We are going to need it. Certainly, over the next three or four years, we will be bringing forward baccalaureate programs in environmental sciences and environmental studies. We will be offering a bachelor’s program in forestry and education will add Montessori curriculum and they will add a program in autism.
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University leaders will also introduce doctoral programs to psychology administrators. The administrators have already approved a doctoral program in occupational therapy.
Financial surpluses, Carter said, will be needed to hire faculty and staff to implement the programs.
Earlier this month, the South Carolina Legislature allocated $18 million in capital funding to construct a new Forestry Research and Classroom Building, which will be located across from the university’s campus on the Francis Marion highway.
Construction of this building is expected to begin in 2023.
“We now have three buildings in the pipeline,” he said. “We have our commercial education building which will begin construction this fall. Next summer we will begin training on the Floyd Medical Consortium building downtown. Around this time next summer – possibly fall 2023 – if not summer, we will begin construction of the new forestry building.
All three buildings are fully funded, Carter said. None of the buildings will require increased tuition or fees for students.
“I hope to have all these buildings in place by 2025,” he said. “It will give the campus a new look and allow us to move forward with our academic programs.”
The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education recently approved the curriculum for the university’s forestry program. Classes will be available in fall 2023.
The Commission also approved the university’s doctoral degree in occupational therapy through its School of Health Sciences. The doctoral program will begin in 2024. This will be FMU’s second doctoral degree in health sciences. The university’s doctorate in nursing practice began in 2018.
In 2003 or 2004, the university decided to expand its arts, business and education programs, Carter said. It also began to expand in the field of health and medical sciences.
The university added engineering about eight to 10 years ago, he said. FMU’s Mechanical Engineering program will take its credentialing exam this fall. Once that credentialing exam is satisfied, the university will begin planning for a third engineering program — either in civil engineering or electrical engineering, Carter said.
“Over the next few years, we will focus on environmental science and forestry as we continue to expand and develop our curriculum in ways that enhance opportunities for our students and meet the need for jobs that exist in the state of South Carolina,” says Carter.