FAMU ranked top five in freshman retention rates among HBCUs

The U.S. News & World Report named Florida A&M as the historically black college or university with the fourth highest freshman retention rate.
In the list of “Historically Black Colleges and Universities Where Freshmen Return,” FAMU made the list with a 79.5 percent freshman retention rate, which is behind Spelman College, Morehouse College and Howard University.
The data was taken from average freshman retention rates at each university. FAMU’s office of institutional research provided data from 2008 to 2011. There were 68 ranking HBCUs on the list with an average rate of 63.5 percent.
William Hudson Jr., vice president for student affairs, said the ranking was evidence of FAMU’s resilience.
“One of the common challenges HBCUs and many other institutions face is institutionalizing in a systematic and sustained manner initiatives to increase student retention, progression and graduation,” Hudson said in a press release. “This is due in part to economic disparities. This top ranking by U.S. News & World Report is a crucial testament to FAMU’s ability to rise to the occasion, despite the odds, and meet these challenges through its tireless efforts to recruit, retain and graduate the nation’s best and brightest students.”
Brenda Spencer, director of FAMU’s office of retention, said she was “thrilled” with FAMU’s rankings because it means the university is moving in a positive direction.
She credits strict academic advisement tutorial services, the First-Year Experience Program, peer mentoring, various workshops and utilizing technology such as BlackBoard Connect for the near-80 percent-retention rate.
“We have developed strong campus partnerships and will need the continued support and involvement of the entire university – administrators, faculty, staff and students – to keep the retention rate moving forward,” Spencer said in an email. “Retention is everyone’s business.”
She added the retention office hopes “to reduce some of the barriers that may hinder student progress such as academic, financial and personal issues, and assist students in resolving these issues or presenting them with options that they may not have been aware of.”
Representatives from the FAMU Student Government Association and the State University System of Florida were contacted, but no replies were made at before the time of this publication.