Out-of-state student thrives at FAMU

Chicago native and FAMU student Mikayla Stovall.
Photo courtesy Tazjhani Baker

Florida A&M University is home to some of the most diverse students in the world. The Rattler nation is made up of people from each and every state.

Though the majority of the student population is from Florida, a significant part of the student body is made up of out-of-state students. But how hard is it for out-of-state students when it comes to attending this beloved institution?

There is no question that FAMU offers more than just an education. It provides an experience that you cant find anywhere else.

For one Chicago native, Mikayala Stovall, there was no denying the FAMU experience.

Stovall was born and raised in Chicago before coming to FAMU to pursue her degree in nursing. Growing up in Chicago was fun to say the least,Stovall said. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with kids and although I am not from the best neighborhood, I made my mark despite my surroundings.

For many students, when selecting a college there are certain key factors to look for. For Stovall those factors included inclusivity, comfort and overall experience. One of the biggest impacts on her transition from her home to The Hillwas joining FAMUs Chicago Club.

Jordan Rogers, a junior political science major from Chicago, says that it is important to have a sense of community when coming to FAMU from out of state.

Mikayla has been my best friend since pre-school. She is a very outgoing individual. Whether or not she knows you, she will make sure you are always in good spirits. Wherever she goes, she leaves her mark,Rogers said.Growing up in Chicago is not built for the weak. It is the game of survival of the fittest. There is no place like Chicago, which is why it is so unique. As a sophomore, I began looking into attending an HBCU, and FAMU was everything I could want in a school.

The out-of-state tuition can deter many students from choosing FAMU as their first college choice. According to famu.edu. the undergraduate 2020-2021 estimated tuition and fees for FAMU is $5,785 for Florida residents and $17,725 for out-of-state students. On-campus living costs increased by 1.39% from the previous year. Off-campus living costs increased by 0.53% from the previous year.

Stovall is hopeful that the tuition prices wont stop eager Rattlers from attending FAMU. One thing I would say to anyone who is from Chicago and may be considering FAMU is to be open minded and write your own narrative,Stovall said. I went on  numerous college tours, I didnt really feel at home until I came to FAMU. I love the diversity and the drive that Rattlers have and I knew I wanted to be a part of the FAMUly.

For many students it can be a struggle to find your place on The Hill.With the effects of COVID-19 lurking around every corner, it is easy to lose motivation. Stovall says that knowing the importance of being involved on campus has helped to make her out of state transition flow smoothly.

Since I have been on campus, I have hosted many events that target our student body. For example, I hosted a Valentines Day giveaway where I gave two men on our campus a Valentines Day gift basket, as well as a back to school giveaway where I gave FAMU students school supplies,Stovall said. I am part of the FAMU chapter of Women Student Union, the Melodic Stepping experience, a presidential ambassador, a FYE Peer Mentor, and  I currently serve as the Miss Phi Beta Sigma for the Hard” Alpha Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated.

Though at times it may seem hard, it is not impossible for an out-of-state student to make FAMU home. All Rattlers are welcome on campus and it is important that morale is high for recruitment when it comes to out-of-state students.

Stovall says that it is her intention to continue to light a path for future Chicago Rattlers, as well as work on for a lower out-of-state tuition.