The declining graduation rates at FAMU

On Aug. 30, an article published in the Famuan entitled Graduation Rates Declining discussed the dwindling graduation rates and the fluctuating retention rates here at Florida A&M.

Many people across the nation and even the world say with pride, “I’m a Rattler!” or “I went to FAMU!” Once a conversation sparks up these individuals typically ask each other “When were you there?”

The answers to this question may vary. Sadly, in many cases they did not graduate. “Slightly more than 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 to 35 have an associate’s degree or higher,” according to an Aug. 9 article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled Obama aims to lift college graduation rates, but his tools are few.

They may have had financial problems that did not allow them to become graduates. Perhaps they spent more time partying and engaging in other extracurricular activities and had to leave. Some may brag about having been in the “100.” They took a few classes during the fall, but once football season ended, so did their matriculation for the academic year. Whatever the reason may be, the Office of Retention has plans to improve on this epidemic.

According to the office of Institutional Research, the four-year graduation at FAMU rate fell from 18.87 percent to 10.83 percent from 2000 – 2005. The fact that the graduation rate for FAMU four-year students is not higher should be a matter of great concern for all of us.

Efforts are underway to change the retention and graduation rates at FAMU. “The office of retentions strives to serve all students and collaborates with all offices across campus,” said William Hudson Jr., director of retention in the office of academic affairs.

“A lot of students are looking to get into the major that makes the most money rather than what is most suitable for them as far as abilities and what they enjoy most.”

Hudson also stressed the importance of taking 15 credit hours per semester in order to graduate on time and gave some advice to students on being successful in college including, “managing time wisely, being assertive in handling business, networking with peers, and finding a mentor.”

Finding a healthy balance between having fun in college and doing well academically is not impossible. There are many people who are currently very involved with organizations on campus as well as working a full time job—all while maintaining a G.P.A. above a 3.5.

If the FAMU retention and graduation rate is to improve, every student on our campus should be determined to graduate in four years. This comes with a change in culture; and that starts with a change in mindset with each individual on campus.