Do students benefit from FAMU’s endowment?

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Endowments are ongoing funds universities use to achieve short-term and long-term goals. They can be used for a variety of purposes over a finite period of time or even indefinitely.

Each endowment consists of discrete funds, with stipulations from the donor on how the institution can use their gift.

On March 19, posted a list of the top 10 HBCU endowments.

The No. 1 spot on said list belongs to Howard University, whose endowment totals $712,410 million.

Along with endowments, Howard receives millions of dollars in donations from alumni, celebrities and huge companies.

The Washington Business Journal reported that Howard “broke its fundraising record in 2021.” The university has recorded nearly $53 million in contributions through the year’s first three quarters.

But where is this money going?

Howard has been in the news recently after students held protests on campus. The hashtag #BlackburnTakeover was started around the middle of October.

Students are protesting poor housing conditions, the elimination of student and faculty representation on the Board of Trustees, along with a few other things.

Howard student Myra Thompson shared her opinions on the ongoing protest and allocation of money. Thompson, who is a junior marketing major and, in full disclosure, my sister, relies on scholarships, grants and loans to pay her tuition.

When asked if she trusts where her money is going, Thompson said that she doesn’t.

“Due to the fact that there is more pressing obligations Howard can allocate the money to rather than the renovations that are currently taking place,” she said.

Renovations which don’t include the mold infested dorms or the lab buildings filled with OSHA violations.

With a total of $95,635 million in endowments, Florida A&M is No. 6 on the list of the top 10 HBCU endowments.

Since 2017, FAMU has undergone numerous renovations throughout its campus.

New signs were placed in front of all the buildings, an amphitheater was built, the new CASS building was built which included a luxurious golden rattlesnake statue, and Bragg Stadium is currently undergoing renovations.

But where is the funding for the students? Where are the new parking garages so students don’t have to fight for parking every day?

Older dorms on campus like Truth, Palmetto and Phase 3 have yet to be renovated.

At the beginning of the semester students living in Palmetto South had to go without hot water for two weeks. Just a few days later the water was turned off completely due to a leak.

Newer dorms like Polkinghorne Village and Young and Sampson have slowly started to fall apart under the pressure of constant wear and tear.

Graduating senior Zachary Kimbrough pays out of pocket for tuition at FAMU.

Kimbrough, who doesn’t qualify for financial aid, has “faith that FAMU is using my money and allocating it to the right places.”

But what can students do to ensure their money is being allocated to the right places?

Shawnta Friday-Stroud, the vice president of University Advancement and dean of the School of Business & Industry, could not be reached for comment.