Freshman Miquell Towns hasn’t even been at Florida A&M university a full semester yet, and already he’s feeling the school’s money woes. Towns says financial aid is unpredictable at best.
Miquell says, "They’re late with their checks and they didn’t get my money right, and I had a shortage of money. That means I had to get a loan."
Over the past two years, state audits have shown sloppy bookkeeping, late payments and balances off by tens of millions of dollars. The mess cost the last president his job and is now prompting acting President Castell Bryant to shut down all school spending including maintenance, construction and travel.
"FAMU’s acting president is even cracking down on staff cell phone use. She’s demanding all university cell phones be turned in by the end of the week.
State Sen. and FAMU alum Al Lawson is dismayed by the president’s actions and thinks the state should step in with some cash to get FAMU back on its feet.
Sen. Al Lawson, (D) Tallahassee, says, "When the publicity goes out it’s a reflection on the state as a whole, not just FAMU. It’s a reflection on the State of Florida, and we want all of our universities to be healthy and productive and to perform well."
Lawson says after all, other universities got more than $25 million last year they didn’t even ask for. Jeb Bush says the state wants to help, but FAMU shouldn’t look for a big check.
Gov. Jeb Bush says, "We’re not in the bailout business. We’re in the reform business. We’re in the fixing business. We’re in the protecting the students business. We’re not in the bailout business."
In the meantime, students are left with nothing but promises that things will get better.