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First-time-in-college students could benefit from this year’s education budget

The State University System received the Senate’s budget proposal for the 2004-05 school year, and, as of now, the Senate is recommending funding for First Time Enrollment (FTE) students.

Carl Carlucci, chief financial officer and executive vice president for USF, said the recommendations the Senate made is new funding that the universities did not have last year. The Senate is recommending $5,403 for FTE freshman and sophomores (lower level) and $8,241 for FTE juniors and seniors (upper level). Carlucci said the Senate is basing those dollar amounts on the 2002-03 planned enrollment growth, which were 820 for lower-level students and 838 for upper-level students.

Carlucci said the Senate’s recommendation is definitely an action taken in the right direction.

“Any new money the universities get is an improvement over last year,” he said.

During the 2003 legislative session, the Legislature approved a budget cut for higher education by $40 million and provided no money for the 22,000 new students that attended Florida’s public universities this year.

In addition to the new money for funding new students, the Senate is also proposing how much they would spend on classroom instruction for these students and other needed support. Carlucci said the Senate proposes a 100 percent funding in classroom instruction, which he says is where the most concentration is needed anyway.

“(Money going into) classrooms produces the best return, and we will get 100 percent of that back,” he said.

As for additional support for the new students, such as academic advising, student services and the library, the Senate is only proposing 42 percent funding or those expenditures.

Carlucci said the cost of classroom instruction and additional support per student is falling.

“The per student costs is probably lower than it was last year, but that has become a trend in recent years,” he said.

Carlucci added that the Senate looks at how much money the universities are spending to educate their students, and he added that proposing new money for the new students is also helping out the faculty who are needed and who are already in the classroom teaching.

“We need to be able to pay for the faculty and the classes,” Carlucci said.

As of now, the Board of Governors, Gov. Jeb Bush and the Senate have made proposals for enrollment growth funding. The BOG has requested $82 million, the governor has requested $50 million and the Senate is requesting $61 million in general revenue. The House has proposed nothing. Carlucci said that is because the Senate and the House are still negotiating.

“They are going back and forth, the Senate and the House. It would be great to get the Senate’s proposed number or somewhere in between the number the House provides,” Carlucci said.

To get up-to-date information on the latest 2004-05 budget visit: .