National Merit Recruitment Dips

Although Florida A&M surpassed Harvard and Yale Universities in the recruitment of National Achievement Scholars in the past, the university’s recruitment ranking has dropped in recent years.

FAMU recruited 26 National Achievement Scholars for the 2003-2004 school year, a decline from the 73 FAMU recruited in 1997, when the Princeton Review named the university as the No.1 recruiter of National Achievement Scholars.

In fact, FAMU outnumbered Harvard, Yale, Duke and

Howard as the top recruiter of National Achievement Scholars in 1992, 1995, 1997, and tied with Harvard in 2000. In each of these years, the number of scholars recruited did not dip below 51.

FAMU’s ranking has now dropped to tenth place after previously tying with Harvard in 2000 with 62 scholars.

Bill McCray, interim director of Recruitment and

Scholarships, attributes the decline to increased competition.

“Other universities now have comparable scholarship packets to ours, and more are interested in getting those National Achievement Scholars,” McCray said.

FAMU offers National Achievement Scholars full tuition, room and board, $300 for books, lab fees, a laptop computer, and the honor of being a Distinguished Scholar. Guaranteed summer internships are also offered to National Achievement Scholars with at least a 29 ACT or 1300 SAT score.

The Office of Recruitment and Scholarships plans to continue previous recruitment efforts relying heavily on Florida high schools and following the football schedule tour.

Although the number of Achievement Scholars has declined, those recruited feel FAMU did an excellent job by topping the offers of other universities.

“FAMU had the best offer,” said Vaughn Stupart, 18,a freshman business student from Columbia, S.C. “I couldn’t resist a laptop computer.”

Stupart, who plans to be a Wall-Street investment banker, was offered full tuition scholarships to the

University of Florida, University of Iowa and Hampton University. He turned down other schools because he felt FAMU would provide a better collegiate experience.

Charice Wilson, 18,a pharmacy student from Tampa, said choosing FAMU brought forth disapproval from her peers.

“I was criticized for choosing FAMU over white schools like UNC at Chapel Hill, but I always wanted to attend an HBCU. FAMU has the nurturing family environment that I wanted,” Wilson said.

Despite the recent decline in recruitment of National Achievement Scholars to the university, students like Wilson say they made the right decision and encourage others to do the same.

“There is a resurgence of students who want to attend HBCUs,” says Julia Brunson, coordinator at the Office of Recruitment and Scholarships. “I think students are finding the need to identify with their blackness.”