Enrollment takes center stage at BOT meeting

Members of the board of trustees meeting to address enrollment and attendance in the grand ballroom. Photo courtesy of Maya Williams

Despite the decline of enrollment with 500 less undergraduate students this year, Florida A&M University officials put a positive spin on the issue during an academic affairs committee meeting Thursday.

When discussing strategies to increase enrollment, Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs Williams Hudson said, “Our alumni are very critical in the recruitment process.”

In order to combat the issue, the trustees reviewed a variety of solutions including investing more funds for scholarships for prospective students, starting the recruiting process at younger ages, and establishing summer programs.

Hudson went on to say current students have proven to be advocates of the school when talking to prospective students and reflecting on their own positive experiences of the university.

The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Student Success, Terry Little-Berry encourages current students to reach out to top performing high schoolers about their FAMU academic experience.

“We encourage students to talk to prospective students about FAMU and more than just the fun you are having here, but the program you are involved in and about what you have learned,” Berry said.

Student Government Association President Carrington Whigham uses her social media as a tool for recruitment.

The Dallas native has increased the flow of the Dallas to Tallahassee pipeline, encouraging many individuals from her hometown to consider the university for secondary education.

“I am a product of FAMU and, being in a leadership role, you have to show [prospective students] what they could possibly be, accomplish, and what opportunities they could possibly have here,” Whigham said.

Overall, first time enrollment is up 12 percent. According to the division of student affairs, around 9,000 first time students were enrolled for undergraduate programs versus this year, over 11,000 first time students are now attending.

Hudson attributed the on-going pandemic as one of the major factors in the decline of retention this year. Many out-of-state students decided to stay home and attend their local colleges and universities. In addition to COVID-19, the university graduated over 2200 students last academic school year.

The next board of trustee meeting will be held December 1 at 8:30 a.m. in the grand ballroom.