First of all, I want to offer a warm welcome to students who are returning to FAU at the end of what I hope was a relaxing Spring Break. While you were on break, you probably heard about the budget cuts that have been imposed upon FAU and the entire State University System by the Florida Legislature. We have already begun to explore the most effective – and least disruptive – ways of dealing with the $24.7 million in cuts to FAU’s state funding for the 2012-13 academic year, which begins July 1st.
The most important thing you need to know is that nothing has changed for you at FAU. Students are still our first priority, and we remain committed to helping you progress steadily toward your degree. As in the past, we will continue to offer all courses needed for graduation, and we will maintain a wide range of degree programs. A robust Summer Semester is now being planned for those of you who wish to enroll in summer classes. The full spectrum of student services will continue to be available to you, including tutoring and mentoring, career development, healthcare services and much more. Plans are moving forward to build a new residence hall for lower-division students on the Boca Raton campus, and the full schedule of student activities will take place across all campuses. We look forward to the continued growth of our student body and are planning for a six percent increase in enrollment in the fall.
I especially want to assure you that there will be no reduction in financial assistance to students. Last year, FAU students received more than $177 million through scholarships, grants, loans and the work study program, and we expect that total to increase in the year ahead.
Florida Atlantic University is extremely fortunate to have strong philanthropic support from individuals and organizations in the greater community. These dedicated friends of FAU reach out to students in a multitude of ways, from establishing scholarships and fellowships to providing funding to enrich academic programs. We have heard from many of our benefactors, and they are more committed than ever to helping the University move forward.
Like most other universities around our state and nation, FAU will have to institute some belt-tightening policies in the year ahead, but we will not be diverted from our primary mission of serving you, our students. We will continue to deliver a top-quality higher education experience to you and help you move toward graduation. Your success is the University’s success.
Since its inception 50 years ago, Florida Atlantic University has existed to serve students, and that is something that will never change. We will overcome this new budgeting challenge and, in so doing, build an even better and stronger FAU.
Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D.
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