Feeding into FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Program

On August 30, Florida A&M University’s Graduate Feeder Program was honored by Congress for its distinguished accomplishments in the constant pursuit for offering opportunities for FAMU’s students to seek higher education after receiving their undergraduate degree.

Living in a world where free tuition is hard to come by, FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Program makes seeking a masters or doctoral degree a walk in the park.

Started in 1987 by FAMU’s former president, Dr. Fredrick Humphries, the Graduate Feeder Program has offered many opportunities for students at FAMU to pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree with tuition paid in full, sometimes even stipends, at any prestigious partnering university, such as Northwestern University, Harvard University, the University of Florida and Cornell University.

The Graduate Feeder Program, according to its mission statement, was “designed to promote graduate education, scholarship and research, equip students with the knowledge and tools to become successful, highly motivated graduate students; provide students with a mechanism to pursue graduate study in areas not available at Florida A&M University; and act as liaison between the Feeder Institutions and the students to advocate a quality graduate experience.”

According to Graduate Feeder Program Coordinator and FAMU alumnus, Terrance McNeil, the program is living up to its blueprint.

“I started working with the school of graduate studies in 2016 and shortly thereafter, I was placed as coordinator for the Graduate Feeder Program and we have done a number of things this year to connect our students with our partner institutions.”

According to McNeil, other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) have emulated FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Program.

“While others have come along since 1987 and tried to embody the program, some have even mimicked what we have done, like other HBCU’s.”

Graduate Feeder Program Scholars couldn’t agree with McNeil even more. According to Carissa Robinson, a 2016 Graduate Feeder Scholar and a Clark Atlanta University graduate student, the Graduate Feeder Program has had a major impact on the progression of her education.

“I was actually really excited when I found out I was a Graduate Feeder Program scholar. It has prepared me for grad school honestly.”

According to Robinson the most impactful part of experience in the Graduate Feeder Program is her participation in the annual FAMU Graduate Feeder Conference.

“The Graduate Feeder Conference was the opportunity I got to meet different colleges whom maybe I wouldn’t have been able to meet. It allowed the recruiters to put a face to an application.”

FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Conference is a four-day conference where partnering universities send a graduate or doctoral school representative to present workshops and network with students. This gives perspective students the opportunity to meet a representative from their desired school.

This year the Graduate Feeder Conference features 39 partnering schools and over 700 participants.

Kayla Lawson, a third-year Broadcast Journalism student, wasn’t considering graduate school until she heard about the Graduate Feeder Program Conference’s opportunities.

“I think it is a great way to introduce people to grad school. The Graduate Feeder Program is a great program,” Lawson stated.

“I think it’s pretty cool that I could go to grad school for free, it’s an awesome opportunity for FAMU student,” she continued.

To be accepted into the program, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA, submit a typed Graduate Feeder Participation Application, submit an unofficial transcript and attend at least five Graduate Feeder educational and professional development workshops.