Enrollment at Florida A & M University has decreased but the number of first time in college students has increased, according to numbers compiled by the university registrar.
Danielle M. Kennedy-Lamar, associate vice president for enrollment management, said recruitment might be a factor in the increase of FTIC students.
“We had an increase of more than 300 FTIC students this fall [and] additionally, we have made approximately two million dollars in scholarship awards since early September,” Kennedy-Lamar said. “We have spoken to over 10,000 students at FAMU’s educational fairs, scholar’s receptions and dinners and college fair programs during that same timeframe.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Roland H. Gaines, said there are three different divisions that focus on recruitment: those who travel the local area, out of state area and students who look only for the national achievement semi-finalist.
“We call them the head hunters, who are recruiting only the national achievement semi-finalist,” Gaines said. “In 2000, FAMU tied Harvard University with the number of enrolled scholars.”
Kennedy-Lamar and Gaines travel along with other members to help influence potential students to join the university.
“Our recruitment team, which consists of SGA, Presidential Ambassadors, the Royal Court, FAMU Connection, alumni and administrators and our President, Dr. Ammons,” Kennedy-Lamar said. “The Office of New Student Orientation leads our campus tour program which, is vital to recruitment.
“We are constantly on the road attending college night programs, college fairs, and private visits to high schools and community colleges,” Kennedy-Lamar said. “Because we are a state institution and the majority of our students are from Florida, Florida is our best area for recruitment…[and] Georgia follows as our best area out of state.”
Members of the recruitment team inform potential students about everything from the history of the school to recent problems that are being solved.
“We tell them of our problems that we’ve had with our finances with SACS, because a lot of students and parents already know about it,” Gaines said. “They want to know, without saying it, if we’re going to share that information. So to show there is nothing we’re trying to hide, we share those situations with them and once we do, they’ll come back and say they really appreciate us saying it because they expected us to try to hide it.”
Although enrollment has been on the decline for the past six years, FAMU professor Elizabeth Dawson said she is certainly encouraged that Ammons and the new administration will turn things around as soon as next semester.
“That’s a temporary situation and we’ll probably see some changes as early as next semester,” Dawson said. “There’s been a total change in atmosphere and change in morale and policy and that is evidence of our commitment to the service we provide for our students. We’ll have students coming in and coming back.”
FAMU recruiters continue to encourage students to attend the university because above all else, officials see it as an investment.
“It’s an investment well worth it [and] the idea is to increase enrollment with the university, so when we increase enrollment with the right type of student then we get funding at a higher level.”