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AAMU Board Approves Flat Rate Tuition, Capital Campaign

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Huntsville, Ala. ---- The Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees on Friday, February 22, unanimously approved a flat rate undergraduate tuition plan designed to encourage students to take the sufficient hours needed to graduate on schedule.


The plan was designed, according to AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., in earlier correspondence to students, to encourage students to pursue more credits per semester in order to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.  Under the approved pricing plan, students may take any credits between 12 and 18 without additional cost. Any credits above 18 would be assessed an additional per credit hour charge.


Hugine also reported to the board that the University Foundation is functioning effectively and that its assets are well-managed.  Moreover, the Foundation’s by-laws have been revised and updated, said Hugine, in line with best practices from a flagship state institution of higher education.


Composition of the Foundation Board.  The Foundation board is comprised of 11 members, namely:  Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., AAMU president, chair; Wendy Kobler, AAMU vice president for marketing, communication and advancement, vice chair; Ralph Johnson, AAMU vice president for business and finance, treasurer; Dr. Kevin Rolle, AAMU executive vice president, agent; Dr. Jeffery Burgin, AAMU vice president for student affairs, nominations committee chair; AAMU athletics director Brian Hicks, vice chair of the nominations committee; and members John Hackett, Jr., AAMU Trustee Andre Taylor, Preslyn Kelly, Atty. Jocelyn Boustani, and Atty. James Prude.   Changes to the composition of the foundation board will require trustee approval.


Enrollment.   To bolster student numbers (Spring 2013: 4,515), Hugine cited aggressive recruitment; a spring open house; and a statewide, 14-school president’s bus tour to engage the community and stakeholders.  Additionally, Hugine noted a widespread outdoor advertising (billboard) campaign, along with digital advertisement in local news sources and the HBCU Digest.  These marketing attempts will become statewide, Hugine assured the board.


Fundraising.  First quarter fundraising and in-kind exceed $2 million.  That amount includes $1 million from fundraising, a donation valued at more than $800,000 in African art, and other inkind.  The board okayed a capital campaign to be launched in March (See Resolution).  As part of a subsequent report, VP Wendy Kobler noted that the campaign will proceed in four stages: planning, leadership, public and follow-up/follow-through.


AAMURI.  Hugine further stated that the University has officially severed the relationship between the University and the Alabama AAMU Research Institute (AAMURI). 


As part of his report, board president pro tempore Odysseus Lanier reiterated that the Research Institute is now past.  He expressed his excitement and praised Hugine for “moving in the right direction.”  Lanier called the statewide bus tour a chance for AAMU “to close the deal” with prospective students. 


Lanier also lauded AAMU’s comprehensive review of its academic programs; the launching of online degree, satellite, evening and weekend programs; and the first-ever capital campaign.  On Monday, February 25, the board’s nominating committee will meet to select three potential appointees to the trustee board, said Lanier, adding that he anticipates having a full board by April.  The four-year president’s evaluation is still in progress, Lanier noted.


Other Items

The board unanimously approved a Master of Science program in Kinesiology; offsite classes at Concordia College (Selma) and Lawson State Community College (Birmingham).  Plans to establish similar MOUs in Mobile, Ala., are being developed.


Trustee Marjorie Battle, faculty senate representative, reiterated the need for strong consideration for raises after a five-year void; adequate upkeep of classrooms; and preserving the integrity of University traditions, such as Founder’s Day.  Trustee Norman Hill mirrored the concern over pay raises and suggested that the matter be given time at the next trustee retreat. 


The meeting adjourned at 1 p.m., and board members participated in a 2 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony for the First Ladies’ Legacy Lake project.

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