The following message was sent from President Mark B. Rosenberg to the university community on May 6, 2014:
Dear FIU Family:
The 2014 Legislative Session came to an end last Friday, May 2. Much attention was paid to higher education issues this year, but a focal point became legislation that granted in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who attended high school in Florida. Bill sponsors Representative Jeanette Nuñez, an FIU alumna, and Senator Jack Latvala of Pinellas County, wrote history by passing House Bill 851, making Florida the 21st state in the country to give Dreamers access to affordable higher education. Governor Rick Scott and Speaker of the House Will Weatherford must also be commended for making this dream a reality for so many students, many whom are right here at FIU. This unprecedented move by the Legislature will truly make a difference in the lives of our students and I am thankful for the courage and tenacity demonstrated by those who supported the measure.
The Legislature also adopted the Board of Governors’ Performance Funding Model with some modifications for implementation in the 2014-2015 school year. Policymakers, as well as the Board, are committed to making performance funding a primary stream of new revenue for university operations, and have made clear they intend to monitor and reward what is considered either excellent or improving performance by institutions.
I am also happy to report that the Legislature agreed to fund $10 million for our Strategic Land Acquisition initiative to assist in our continued efforts to expand our footprint in South Florida by relocating the Fair and gaining access to the 86 acres adjacent to our main campus. The Legislature also appropriated $6.8 million for the completion of our Student Academic Support Center, which will have a significant impact on the academic success of our students as well as the improvement of graduation rates and job placement for our graduates.
Much credit is due to the Members of the Dade Delegation who committed to making these funding priorities a reality and delivered. I am also grateful to the House and Senate leadership, who have demonstrated that they too believe in our FIU!
The following FIU projects were also funded:
- $12.5 million for Fixed Capital Outlay projects including Critical Deferred Maintenance, Renovation, Remodeling and Repairs, and Capital Improvement Trust Fund requests.
- $188,000 for the final year of state funding for the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, bringing the total number of state support to $28 million.
- $3.1 million in hurricane mitigation research projects including the Wall of Wind and Public Loss Model.
- $1 million for FIU Embrace, to provide medical and behavioral health care to adults with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Continued funding for the College of Education’s Panther LIFE program and the Washington Center for Internships.
- $1.2 million in new funds for the Aging Institute, the Fostering Panther Pride network, the Small Business Development Center, and dual enrollment programs.
I ask that you join me in thanking the Legislature for its support of FIU and urging the Governor to continue his support of our students and higher education in Florida by allowing our funding priorities to become law once the budget is sent to his desk for approval. With the unwavering support demonstrated by our partners such as the Florida Legislature, and through your hard work and dedication to FIU, we continue to be Worlds Ahead.
Mark B. Rosenberg