Administrators seek to increase graduation rate

Florida A&M administrators are working to address the university’s six-year, 39 percent graduation rate by launching career and academic-centered programs.

The Office of University Retention has launched an initial student academic advisement module as well as a career development initiative.

The initiative was created to help students focus on career choices and realize their strengths and weaknesses, according to Brenda Spencer, director of University Retention.

“I feel very positive that things are moving forward,” Spencer said.

FAMU offers nearly 100 degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, professional and doctoral degrees. Yet, the graduation rate remains low.

There are various reasons students fall short academically. Financial constraints and worries play a role in a student’s success in college. This is a problem some students have seen fellow students deal with.

“The reason why I think it’s that number is because it can be due to financial reasons,” said Tarre Stanley, a fourth-year biology student from Miami.

Stanley said it can be exhausting to juggle working and going to school at the same time.

William Hudson Jr., vice president of Student Affairs, said students have a fear of general real-world issues and some students try to take on too much at one time.

“Students also try to extend their undergraduate tenure to enroll in a major that they have not met the minimum criteria,” Hudson said. “They take extra courses to try to enter into limited access majors, i.e. pharmacy or nursing.”

Hudson believes having a strong support system is vital to making it through college. An important thing Hudson said he faced while attending FAMU was learning to balance his time and make sacrifices for what was important.

“For me, I would say I had to mature and take my education seriously,” Hudson said. “I have mentors that truly encouraged me and friends who spoke truthfully about what I was not doing to apply myself.”