Florida’s minority graduating seniors topped the nation in SAT scores, according to a recent study released by the College Board. Scores improved in each subsection, which includes critical reading, mathematics and writing.
Florida’s Hispanics outperformed all other minorities nationwide. Average scores for Hispanic students in critical reading are 29 points higher than the nation, 13 points higher in math and 20 points higher in writing.
In Dade County, minorities comprise 65 percent of the student population. These students usually are ESOL, whose primary language is Spanish or French Creole. Florida ranks 12th among states in education.
Ways to aid Florida’s college students have increased with community colleges offering free education for well-performing students. For example, the Florida Lottery helps fund Bright Futures scholarships. High test scores for minority students could position them to be looked at more competitively in the global economic market.
Florida’s high school graduates are raising the bar, and with a plurality of them choosing to attend a state university, Florida can expect to see a raise in the state’s economy in upcoming years.
Gabrielle Goodleigh, a computer systems information student who graduated from a high school in Dade County, said she learned to have an appreciation for diverse cultures.
“I graduated from a Florida high school where I received the very best education,” Goodleigh said. “That curriculum was solely based on college prep.”
College enrollment in Florida schools has increased over the years. However, FAMU’s enrollment decreased this semester, declining from 13,207 to 12,035.
According to the FAMU Office of Institutional Research, only 49 percent of admitted freshmen enrolled in FAMU this semester. The university has been putting forth its best efforts to keep enrollment high through its retention efforts.
“FAMU is trying to improve retention rate in several ways through academic advising, which is critical in making sure students are taking the correct classes,” said Brenda C. Spencer, Ph.D., director of the Office of University Retention. “Aside from that, tutorial services are free for all FAMU students and the freshman experience program.”
FAMU students and parents have an equal share in possessing a negative outlook on the hazing incident attributing to the university’s decrease in enrollment.
“As soon as the negative press settles down, the public will look more empathetically towards FAMU, which will eventually result in an increase in enrollment,” said Kiana Whitaker, a pharmacy student.
“FAMU negativity” became a trending topic on Twitter. However, some students stood by their university’s side throughout the turmoil.
Samone Jay, a sophomore, said abandoning FAMU never crossed his mind and that he wishes all could experience the rich history and the “FAMUnity.” Jay said he came to FAMU to receive an education.
“FAMU has been gracious to me by allowing me countless opportunities and also by allowing me to set a legacy here that one day I hope my future children will follow,” Jay said. “I am receiving everyday with a student body that happens to look like me. I feel like I am winning here.”
FAMU continues to be recognized in positive ways: ranked the No. 1 public school among historically black colleges and universities in the 2012 U.S. News and World Report; ranked as one of the “Top National Universities” in September 2011 by Washington Monthly magazine for the second consecutive year; named one of the “Best Colleges in the Southeast” in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review; and selected as one of the Princeton Review’s “311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition.”
The list focuses on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. FAMU’s enrollment should increase in the near future.