As Florida A&M seeks to push its enrollment to 15,000, it has seen a slight decrease in male enrollment numbers, an ongoing trend steadily seen for the past ten years.
According to FAMU’s fact books, male enrollment has shrunk about 2.2 percent since 1994, decreasing from 42.2 percent in 1994 to 40 percent in 2010. The female population, however has continued to rise over the last 16 years, increasing from 57.8 percent in 1994 to 60 percent in 2010.
Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson said the lack of males attending college is not just prevalent to FAMU, but is a national issue. A large factor in the decreasing number of male students at FAMU are decreasing high school graduation rates combined with changes in admission requirements for the state of Florida, Hudson said.
“The impact is significant on all levels – academic, athletic, socially and economically for the communities in which these students derive,” Hudson said.
According to Michael Holzman, a research consultant for the Schott Foundation, 47 percent of black males graduated high school compared with 78 percent of white males nationwide.
In Florida, just 37 percent of black males graduated compared with 57 percent of white males. The Schott Foundation for Public Education is a non-profit organization designed to provide quality public education for students.
In a 2010 national study, which examined the 2007-08 academic year, Holzman found three counties with some of the lowest graduation rates out of the study done with 59 districts nationwide are in Florida: Pinellas County, Palm Beach County and Duval County.
Miami-Dade isn’t far behind, coming in at the seventh lowest spot out of the top ten. Students from these four counties represented about 20 percent of FAMU’s student body in 2010-11, according to the most recent fact book.
“(The numbers) affect all HBCUs and the diversity of institutions across the nation,” said Hudson. “The ability to graduate males and improve the economic conditions of their families has a significant impact in communities.”
Hudson said FAMU’s role is to fill in that gap, and graduate males in fields with underrepresented minority professionals, including education, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Having qualified minority professionals not only impacts society, but future generations of students, he said.
FAMU has taken several initiatives in trying to turn these rates around, not only to boost their own male enrollment, but to alsoensure that more males are graduating from high school.
“FAMU is actively recruiting males and working with high schools, producing after school programs, community colleges and TRIO Programs to assist with college preparation for all students, specifically males,” said Hudson