Florida A&M has suffered a grave decline in recruiting and obtaining large numbers of National Achievement finalists since 2010. However, the university is making gains to recruit and retain more scholars.
From 1985 to 2001, FAMU expanded its presence and gained national notoriety, increasing enrollment from about 5,000 students to 12,000.
According to FAMU’s website, the university began aggressively competing for more talented students and constantly began to rank within the top five universities for enrolling National Achievement finalists nationwide.
“In 1992, 1995 and 1997, FAMU enrolled more National Achievement finalists than Harvard, Yale and Stanford,” according to the website. “In 1999, Black Issues in Higher Education cited FAMU for awarding more baccalaureate degrees to African-Americans than any other institution in this nation.”
However, since 1999, the university has been unable to attract the high number of National Achievement finalists as it did during the early years of former President Frederick Humphries.
Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson Jr. said several things contributed to this decline, including inadequate residence halls for scholars, establishment of living and learning communities for scholars and a lacking variety of accessible food options campus-wide.
The university also doesn’t have resources to buy “giveaways” to court scholars and their high school counselors or to get to these high achievers.
Hudson said the university is working to recruit more National Achievement finalists at events such as the President’s Tour, during which universities give scholarships on the spot.
The 2013 President’s Tour gave out more than $323,000 in scholarships in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, according to the university’s website.
According to FAMU’s website, “FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson awarded $131,000 to deserving students at the Fort Lauderdale reception, which was held at Hallandale Magnet High School.”
It is unknown whether any National Achievement finalists are planning to enroll in FAMU for the 2013-14 school year. But the university has reached out to at least 16 of the students. The university uses social media to engage the scholars and update them on activities that are occurring on campus.
“The university is using new technology to improve business processes and speed up the application process,” Hudson said. “Also, it plans to develop online process that inputs information directly into PeopleSoft to decrease manual processes.
The university also provides alumni with training sessions that will aid them in recruiting.