Enrollment is on the rise

Despite probationary problems during the 2007-2008 school year, the Florida A&M University Office of Student Affairs still has a goal of increasing enrollment. 12,000 students are projected to enroll this fall.

Danielle Kennedy-Lamar, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, said the effort was to focus on “retention and graduation rates” during the 2007-2008 school year.

“[Making] sure students progress toward degrees is vital to increase enrollment for this upcoming school year,” Lamar said.

In a previous interview with the FAMUAN, President James Ammons acknowledged the challenges with recruitment FAMU faced during the University’s probationary period.

“With us being on probation there was a stigma there that impacted our ability to recruit [as] widely as we wanted to recruit,” Ammons said.

Lamar, in charge of specialized recruitment, said in order to “allay as many fears as possible” during the probationary period, initiatives were executed by Ammons and his administration this year to recruit.

Some initiatives include the “President’s Tour: FAMU Up Close and Personal” that took place earlier this year, during which scholarships were awarded to deserving students at Florida high schools, and the expected performance of the Marching 100 at the NFL’s Jets/Dolphin’s game this upcoming December.

“Whatever city FAMU is represented in, recruitment efforts are there as well,” Lamar said.

By 2010, Ammons said he has a goal to enroll 15,000 students. However, Lamar said that the administration understands with more students, more accommodations will have to be made.

“This is a gradual process,” she said.

Two male dormitories, Sampson and Young halls, are still closed as well as housing facility Polkinghorne Village.

When the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed FAMU on probation June 29, 2007 based on discrepancies during audits of 2005-2006 records, some students were concerned about FAMU remaining their choice for higher education.

Lance Tribble, a sophomore civil engineer student from Miami, transferred to FAMU from Morehouse College this fall, fully aware of the University’s probationary status.

“I know some successful people that came to ‘FAM’ and that are doing good right now,” Tribble said. “Even if they were going through the struggle, I still would have went to the school because I know ‘FAM’ would get things that needed to be done accomplished.”

Tribble recalled preparing to attend FAMU and received a letter in summer 2007 stating FAMU faced probation.

He questioned “why didn’t they send it earlier” and felt like FAMU was “trying to hide it,” later understanding that the probation had just been assessed.

“My mom persuaded me not to go to avoid transferring in the middle of the school year,”

Tribble said, in reference to the sixth month period that FAMU worked through probationary issues. However, he said he is glad to have made the choice of now attending FAMU.

Lamar thanks students like Tribble who still attend the University despite its probation issues.

She said “Hanging in there with SACS issues” and letting people know “there is no place like FAMU” are two things FAMU should be grateful for.

According to the university’s Office of Institutional Research Fact Book, 11,567 students were enrolled in fall 2007 compared to 11, 913 students in enrolled in fall 2006. The official number of enrolled students for fall 2008 will be available after Registration ends on Aug. 29.

For more information, statistics on enrollment can be found at the Florida Board of Governor’s website, flbog.edu or famu.edu.