University of North Florida
Board of Trustees

  • Workshop
February 10, 2005
University Center at 9:00 a.m.

Trustees in Attendance

Edythe Abdullah, Luther Coggin, Toni Crawford, O’Neal Douglas, Wilfredo Gonzalez, Ann Hicks, Wanyonyi Kendrick, Judith Solano, Bruce Taylor, Carol Thompson

Trustees Absent

Steve Halverson, Kevin Twomey, Jerry Watterson

Call to Order

Chair Thompson called the meeting to order. She thanked Trustee Kendrick for hosting and coordinating the workshop. She said that she and President Delaney felt the workshops had been extremely effective as open forums, but there were some issues with the format. She observed that because the Board was quite diverse, there were some differences in perspective and said it was time for the Board to narrow its focus. She added that President Delaney had some recommendations based on his experiences in working with the Board. The recommendations were made in concert with priorities important to the Board of Governors and the Governor. Chair Thompson noted that though the Board would not want to ignore those priorities, they should not necessarily drive the Board’s decision-making either. She asked President Delaney to speak further on his recommendations.

President Delaney recapped earlier discussions, stating that the Board and the University had gelled around a mission statement that said UNF would be a comprehensive university offering an array of degrees, that teaching was the prime directive, that research would play a role but would not be the prime directive, and that the University would own a series of niches where it was recognized as a state or national leader. He said there were several recurring themes, with the Board and the University coalescing behind ten elements of the strategic plan. He observed that the term quality was heard repeatedly and said that though he realized the Board wished to meet its responsibility to the state in terms of providing the needed bachelors degrees, he knew it did not wish to do so at the expense of quality.

Regarding funding, President Delaney said that currently the Governor was recommending discretion for the boards for an increase of up to 7.5 percent for undergraduate tuition and fees and complete discretion for out-of-state and graduate tuition. President Delaney felt the Governor’s recommendation was likely to pass. Therefore, one decision the Board would need to make was whether and how much to increase tuition for each category. The Board would also need to determine the future size of the institution and the rate of growth. President Delaney noted that the more quickly the University grew, the lower its average SATs and GPAs would have to be – last year, UNF ranked fourth in the state behind UF, FSU, and UCF. He said that though the quality of the students enrolled had increased over the last year, it had not done so at the expense of minority enrollments. This year’s freshman class had a third more minority students than the previous class. He said the Governor’s office had even called to remark on the increase and to ask how it had been accomplished.

Trustee Gonzalez asked if this workshop was the appropriate forum for discussing integration and being an urban institute. Chair Thompson said that though the issues were quite pertinent, they would probably need to be discussed in a separate workshop. Trustee Gonzalez observed that though the University might be comfortable with the number of minority students enrolled, he did not see minorities at campus events. He said minorities must be made a part of campus life as well as academic life.

Dr. Serwatka introduced Dr. George Perkins, stating that he had generated most of the data for the meeting. Dr. Serwatka said that during the workshop the Board would look at guidelines that would improve future funding for the University if they could be accomplished. He added that lobbying would help.

Giving statistics on Florida’s past funding of higher education and also in comparison with other states, Dr. Serwatka said Florida ranked 36th among the states in tax dollars spent on higher education. The state belonged to the Southern Regional Education Board and ranked almost last in terms of those peers.

President Delaney noted that the BOG recommendation was an increase of $80 million to cover six to seven thousand new students. The Governor’s recommendation was $20 million for the same number of students. UNF’s share of that $20 million might be $1 million. On top of that, in the past the state had paid for raises for the universities and this year it was recommended by the Governor that those raises come out of the $20 million. Even the $80 million recommended by the BOG did not cover the one thousand extra unfunded students UNF already had. At issue, said the president, was what percent of the cost of education should be paid by the student. He felt a fair portion was between 25 and 40 percent. He said Florida should be in the middle of the states in total tuition. Trustee Coggin asked if any specific type of index was utilized in isolating very successful states in education. He thought Florida should use those states as benchmarks. President Delaney said there were two parts to the funding issue: the portion to be paid by the students and the portion to be paid by the state. The state kept moving up the portion to be paid by the students but not the amount covered by the state. For Florida to be successful, he said, it must do both. He said the University’s recommendation was to raise in-state undergraduate tuition to the full amount as money from the state was virtually non-existent.

Dr. Serwatka presented information on UNF’s funding over the years, showing how much FTE the University had each year and how much of the FTE had been funded. President Delaney said that his inclination was to slow down enrollment growth a bit as UNF was still not getting funding for the students it had. This would mean that the University would not hit enrollment goals the state had asked the institution to meet. However, he said, it seemed almost irresponsible to try to hit the state’s goals without money for faculty, classrooms, etc. In response to a question about FTE, Dr. Serwatka said that in Florida one FTE was the equivalent of forty credit hours. For most of the rest of the country, one FTE was equivalent to thirty credit hours.

Trustee Kendrick asked if community colleges had the same issues. Trustee Abdullah responded that FCCJ also had students unfunded as its budget had gone up and down over the last several years. There was a wide berth between one institution and another. However, FCCJ was well funded right now, she said. President Delaney observed that community colleges had several advantages, as both President Bush and Governor Bush were fond of them. Trustee Abdullah agreed with President Delaney’s statement.

Dr. Serwatka added that often the Legislature divided the number of FTE into the amount available for funding, so there was no constant on how much the institutions would receive. He went over the amount spent by UNF for education, the amount funded by the state, and the amount paid for by the students. He noted that students were, in fact, paying about 40 percent of the costs at the lower division. Trustee Abdullah confirmed that UNF was several hundred dollars in the hole per student. Dr. Serwatka said the University was forced to lower the cost of instruction, increasing class sizes, using more instructors rather than full professors, etc.

Dr. Serwatka presented the University’s recommendations for changing the funding structure. He said minimum and consistent levels of funding per FTE should be established at each level and reviewed each year. The state should establish the percent of funding to be covered by tuition, allocating new FTE only as predetermined and covering unfunded FTE beforehand. Institutions should then be allowed to fund through tuition flexibility above the state set levels. President Delaney said that this was the approach university administration would like to advocate as the right approach for UNF and the rest of Florida. Trustee Taylor agreed with the recommendations, stating that they were very gradual and answered his questions. He felt they would work. The trustees asked for a copy of the recommendations. Chair Thompson asked if anyone disagreed with the recommendations philosophically. No one did.

Trustees discussed whether tuition should be raised for out-of-state. Dr. Serwatka reported that out-of-state SATs and GPAs were lower than the in-state, so better quality students were not culled from outside of Florida. He said that 5 percent added to out-of-state tuition was an alternative as the rate of increase to the cost of tuition would then be slower than in-state. Though Florida would still be at the top of the pack nationally for out of state tuition, the rate would be climbing commensurately with the national rate. Trustee Taylor said the question to be answered was what percentage of out-of-state students should be included in the mix of the overall student body. President Delaney replied that the percentage should probably be more than 5 percent, the current amount.

Trustees asked for information regarding the percentage students were paying in Florida compared with the percentage students were paying in other states, what other states charged for in-state tuition, estimated additional funds from the recommended tuition increases, and the percent of out-of-state students subsidized by scholarships. President Delaney said the trustees would probably need a profile of graduate and undergraduate out-of-state students including minority status, financial status of families, etc. Trustee Kendrick suggested finding out what would encourage international students to obtain an education at UNF. She thought fees might not be the determining factor. She asked for the demographics of UNF’s international students. Trustee Taylor asked if comparative numbers could be provided such as on benchmark institutions that had an emphasis on quality undergraduate education; what size were they and what were their profiles?

President Delaney said his sense was that there were three things on the table to be decided: a rational funding framework tying students to the formula that Ms. Owen could take to the other presidents to lobby the Legislature, a general sense of where the University should go in terms of the budget, and the future size of the institution. He said the staff philosophy leaned toward slowing growth until funding could be caught up. He was cognizant of UNF’s role in increasing production of bachelors degrees but couldn’t raise enrollments by eight hundred FTE without funding. He also felt that out-of-state should probably not be increased substantially at this juncture.

Chair Thompson made sure the trustees were in concurrence with the topics for the next workshop. She thanked Dr. Perkins and Dr. Serwatka for the information provided, stating that it was very helpful. Dr. Allaire recommended postponing the agenda item on endowment and the workshop was adjourned.