Compared to enrollment at this time last year and projections for fall 2018 enrollment, FAMU’s student body is growing.
Fall enrollment was at 9,800 students and the current enrollment is 9,304. The decrease is a normal pattern seen from the Fall to Spring semesters of an academic year due to various reasons.
Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson said several variables account for the changes in student enrollment.
“Several variables impact student enrollment including Satisfactory Academic Progress, balance on account, personal issues, financial support, among other issues,” Hudson said. “Enrollment decrease between terms can impact time to degree and graduation rates.”
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Rodner Wright has seen this drop in the years that he has been at FAMU. He said that the primary reason for the decrease is Fall graduates.
“If you think about it, we graduated almost 700 students in the Fall 2017 commencement and they were a part of the number (enrollment) in the Fall,” said Wright. “There’s always a few students who can’t return because of money owed or other special needs.”
Provost Wright explained that more emphasis is now being placed on increasing transfer student enrollment to make up the difference in the students lost from fall graduation.
“We expect in the future with our IGNITE transfer program that we will bring in more transfer students from community colleges that we’re developing these articulation agreements with,” said Wright.
The objective of the IGNITE transfer program is to develop strong relationships with various community colleges in areas in which FAMU gets a lot of students. The program uses a mapping technique to advise students who are at community colleges with the intent of transferring into a specific program at FAMU.
“They will be taking courses that will transfer and prepare them when they get here so that they’re not losing time by taking courses that don't end up transferring,” Wright said.
The Office of Institutional Research tracks graduation retention rates and enrollment and reports its findings to the Board of Governors.
Princess Likely, coordinator of computer applications in the office, says that graduation rates are also improving because of new admission requirements and programs pushing students to graduate in four years.
“Admission requirements are becoming more stringent,” said Likely. “With tighter admission requirements, you’ll get more quality students which results in a 4 or 5-year graduation rate as opposed to a 6 or 7-year graduation rate.”
Despite the mid-year dip in enrollment, the enrollment is trending up, according to FAMU administrators.
“When we look at our numbers compared to spring enrollment a year ago, we’re actually 500 students above where we were,” said Wright.
Provost Wright believes the enrollment numbers for FAMU in the future are promising.
“All of our signs are pointing to an increase in enrollment overall and we’re seeing that just in the significant increase in applications from the previous year. I think the university overall is trending up.”
The target enrollment goal for the Fall of 2018 is 10,400 students, Wright said, which represents an increase of 600 students from Fall 2017.