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JSU offering discounted tuition rate for online summer classes

Zachary Grizzard, Correspondent

Jacksonville State University is offering a discounted rate for online tuition for undergraduate summer 2020 classes. Online classes at JSU normally cost $377 per credit hour, but the rate has been reduced to $324 per credit hour for the summer.

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Possibility of increased tuition, Coliseum to get new floors, seats

The Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees held their last meeting of the year last Monday, October 20 on the eleventh floor of the Houston Cole Library.

At the start of Monday’s meeting, the Board announced that the Presidential Screening Committee would be meeting later in the afternoon. According to board member Rodney Smith, three potential candidates have been chosen thus far in the search for a new president for Jacksonville State.

“We plan to set the tone of where we want to go,” Smith said. “We haven’t acted upon anything yet.”

Randy Owen announced a proposal from the Academic Affairs Committee for a research center for veterans to provide an avenue in research and education to those serving our country. The Academic Affairs Committee plans to use a holistic approach to study the needs of veteran students and support them in every way possible.

“As a veteran, this is the best thing I’ve seen this board do and those involved should be applauded for their efforts,” said Clarence W. Daugette III in regards to this proposition. The board approved this proposal.

Smith then brought forward the Building & Finance Committee plans. He first motioned to change the bank used by the bond trustee from The Bank of New York Mellon to Regions. Board members approved this change.

Tuition quickly became a topic of conversation as Smith continued on to discuss the budget for the 2014-2015 academic year. Due to cuts in the budget, he speculated that at this time, there is to be a 5% tuition increase next year.

While he emphasized that tuition was to be finalized at a later date, he did make it clear that without a 5% increase in enrollment or tuition hours to balance out the difference, the matter would be out of the board’s hands. No decisions have been made regarding tuition, and, if an increase is to occur, there will be a meeting at a later date to solidify a decision.

Board member Randall Jones asked the board and those in attendance of this meeting, “What can we do to increase enrollment and credit hours?” Jones asked Brett Johnson, SGA President, to put a committee together to help this matter so that students are aware that promotion of our university is crucial, especially in regards to tuition costs.

Smith continued the meeting by bringing up the second phase of renovation to the Pete Mathews Coliseum. This involves all new floors and seats for the Coliseum, which was built in 1974.

The goal of this renovation is to make the Coliseum more welcoming for graduation and heighten fan enthusiasm during games. Altogether, the second phase of construction will cost 1.3 million dollars.

Other subjects discussed Monday included new chillers in the TMB and Martin Hall, occupancy rates for on and off-campus housing, and honors program rates. Dr. Meehan announced that JSU’s average ACT score is now a 22.6, an increase from last year. New department heads and directors were also recognized.

Dr. Janet Moore expressed the need for more tutors and drop-in tutoring locations like the one located in Martin Hall.

Dr. Alicia Simmons showed how the money from the First in the World grant would be used across the university. The 3.2 million dollars will be spread across four years, then divided into money for iPads, classroom upgrades, more employees, and the IT expansion. Simmons announced that starting next fall, incoming freshmen will get iPads on a yearly check-out basis.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor

Losing the lottery

The year was 1999; Governor Don Siegleman (D) had just been elected on the platform of bringing the lottery to Alabama. A year-long campaign ensued with Gov. Siegleman and his supporters blanketing the state with pro-lottery propaganda leading to the vote of the people to approve legalizing the lottery.

Opposition came from religious groups who said a lottery would exploit the poor and was immoral. Ultimately, the initiative failed in a vote of 54 to 46 percent.

Fast-forward to 2014; almost an entire generation later. Just last week, the largest media group in the state Alabama Media Group conducted a statewide poll asking readers if they would support or oppose a lottery vote if it were held today.

83 percent of readers said that they would vote ‘yes’ on a lottery vote if it were held today. Only 13 percent said they would vote ‘no,’ and a mere 2 percent of the total 7,200 voters said they were ‘undecided.’

What else happened last week? Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) stated publicly that he is opposed to a lottery, but “would not block a vote” if it were proposed by the legislature.

His challenger, former Congressman Parker Griffith (D), has taken a page from Siegleman’s campaign playbook by openly advocating for a lottery and he is picking up new ground for his position.

With such wide support for a lottery, why is it that the legislature and the governor have not budged on the issue? Are they out of touch? Do they simply not care?

My answer: welcome to election season. Politics in Alabama can be very wishy-washy. What you would think is common sense becomes a controversial issue instead.

We have state budgets that are in dire straits. Tuition is going up statewide because the legislature doesn’t have (or can’t find) enough revenue to fund schools adequately—including public universities like JSU.

Yet, an education lottery, which has shown would bring in at least $250 million in new revenue each year is an issue that the Republican Supermajority in the Alabama legislature is ignoring.

However, the tide is slowly changing. With new media coverage of statewide support for the issue, some Republicans in the legislature are “reconsidering” their stance on the issue. Meanwhile, the Democrats have proposed a bill each session to put the issue to a new statewide vote.

To me, this issue should not be a Republican versus Democrat issue at all. It’s a common sense versus perceived principles issue.

As policy makers, our state leaders need to learn a little more about solving problems rather than pandering to their political base. There is a huge problem: failing state budgets. There is a proven solution: an education lottery.

With all of the facts on our side, 15 years after the last statewide discussion, I find myself wondering: why does it seem that we are still losing the lottery?

Brett Johnson
Staff Writer