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The UCF Board of Trustees convened at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on May 21 to discuss funding, projects and other plans for the university's future.

The board approved an annual budget of about $1.5 billion for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year. The board agreed not to raise tuition costs, housing and other fees, freezing tuition rates for the second year in a row.

However, the board did approve to increase a state-mandated repeat-course fee. The repeat-course fee is set by the state's Board of Governors and penalizes students who have to take a course three or more times.

The fee has been raised by approximately 12 percent, from about $159 to about $178 per credit hour, according to the board's agenda.

A major project that was discussed at the meeting regarded the status of UCF's Downtown Orlando campus. The $200 million project is still pending state approval as UCF waits to hear back from the Florida Legislature regarding the state budget.

The legislature will meet in a special session in June to establish a budget, where UCF officials will be presenting more details on the downtown campus to the Board of Governors.

The board also discussed student safety concerns regarding the recent rise in off-campus crimes involving students.

In addition to the UCF Police Department and Orange County Sheriff's Office working jointly to combat off-campus crime, UCF's Communications and Marketing Department will assist the police departments by launching a campaign to raise student awareness on crime.

The campaign is set to begin in the fall of 2015.

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Eric Gutierrez is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter @atatticus_adrift or email him at EricG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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