While many departments have undergone significant budget cuts, Florida A&M’s recruitment fair has been spared the financial setbacks.
According to Morris Hawkins, chief financial officer of SGA, for an individual recruitment fair FAMU spends about $3,000 to $6,000 in hotel cost, $6,000 to $8,000 in per-diem, which is food and pocket money for the students, and about $10,000 in transportation.
This semester the fair has visited Georgia, South Carolina and southern Florida.
The Office of Student Affairs oversees the recruitment fairs. The purpose of “educational fairs” is to solicit the students early and inform them about FAMU, said Roland Gaines, vice president of Student Affairs.
Gaines did not disclose the total cost of recruitment fairs however; he said that a bulk of the cost goes into food for the guests.
Recruitment fairs target the areas that a large population of FAMU students usually come from Gaines said.
“We [FAMU] want the students that are financially disadvantage to know that they can attend college,” Gaines said.
The fair consists of 25 to 30 SGA members that are selected by their branch head, which include the acting chief justice, chief of staff and senate president, 20 students from the FAMU Connection, the 14 members of the royal court and several presidential ambassadors.
“We are recruitment tools the university uses,” said Mr. FAMU, Brandon McCaskill, 21, a fourth-year broadcast journalism student from Largo, Md.
More than 50 students are selected to travel to different cities and states to persuade high school students that FAMU is the best institution for them.
During the recruitment fairs, tables that include information on several programs offered are set up, and gives prospective students an insight to college life.
“After I perform, I go to the back and talk to students who are interested in theatre,” said Kendrick Jones, 23, a fourth-year theatre performance student.
Jones has been a part of the recruitment fairs for the past three years, but has recently witnessed minor changes in recruitment fair expenditure.
“We stay at the best hotel in the city we are in,” Jones said. “We used to just have two people to a room, I guess because of the budget cuts we are now four to a room.”
During the Atlanta recruitment fair, FAMU students visited three high schools and hosted two receptions in the hotel ballroom. About 1,000 students attended the fair, said McCaskill.
Investors donate money to FAMU to reach potential students during recruitment fairs, but FAMU does not provide documentation to support its success, according to Gaines.
There is a way the university tracks the success of the fair; however, there is not a system setup to track how successful the fairs are said Gaines.
Gaines suggests the proof in the success of recruitment fairs is shown in freshman enrollment.
Hawkins ensures that SGA is in the process of forming a database to act as a mentor that allows students to keep in contact with incoming prospective students, which is a part of the recruitment office vision.
Regardless of the lack of evidence Jones said that the recruitment fair is successful.
“I attended one of the high schools that FAMU visited,” said Jones, a resident of Hallandale. “I spoke to theatre students and Mr. Gaines, and I was recruited the same day.”
FAMU gives out scholarships during recruitment fairs. During the Atlanta fair FAMU gave away $700,000 in scholarships to prospective students, according to Gaines.
The university has seen freshmen enrollment increase from 3,493 in 2008 to 4,081 this fall, which includes returning freshmen and first time in college students, according to Senior
Enrollment Information Officer Angela Peterson.
“I believe that the recruitment portion is definitely benefiting in bringing in the students,” Hawkins said.
This is the second year that FAMU has allowed a large amount of students to participate in the fair according to Hawkins.
It assists President Ammons’ goal of reaching 15,000 students said Hawkins.