Change of major could cause students on scholarship to lose their awards

Scholarship recepients | Photo credit: FAMU Forward 

Some scholars may not be aware of the facts on the scholarship program policy, and simply changing their major can set of an unfortunate domino effect. The FAMU scholarship programs include The Life Gets Better and Thurgood Marshall Programs. The programs cater to students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, and Physics.

Many FAMU students may believe that it is unfair for the scholarship program policy to take away scholarships if a student changes their major. Students claim to be unaware of this issue and are convinced this policy is a new change to the program.

The Life Gets Better Scholarship Agreement (LGB), requires students to sign a contract to maintain a 3.50 GPA and enroll in 15 credit hours per semester. Students are also required to live on campus and perform 15 hours of community service.

The Florida Board of Governors Performance Funding Model Overview explains why each university in the state must have certain requirements and restrictions on university resources such as scholarship programs.

All students on scholarship must sign a contract, for example, The Life Gets Better Scholarship Agreement, entails all requirements and responsibilities of the student. The contract states that recipients must major is Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, or Physics.

The LGB contract also states that the scholarship may be canceled at any time if the conditions in the agreement are not met or satisfied. According to the Director of the University Scholarship Program, Dedra O’Neal, no changes have been made to the scholarship program.

According to FAMU’s scholarship director, students changing their major creates an altered contract, and altered contracts will lead to termination of the award. “This is not a new policy,” O’Neal added.

“There are no changes,” O’Neal said. “The only change is the contract form is now online.”

Students must now submit and sign their scholarship agreement online to avoid any missed deadlines or mailing issues.

“The scholarship agreement is online now so that we can see the date and time the student submitted it,” O’Neal explained. “It is also more efficient.”

The FAMU website lists all the merit scholarships and states under each award that students may not change their majors, along with enrolling in at least 15 credit hours per semester to hold a scholarship position.

O’Neal explained that the university is required to meet the BOG Performance Funding Model. The model states that there are 10 metrics that evaluate state universities covering a range of issues.

Sociology major Tia Maxwell is a sophomore who holds the Distinguished Scholarship Award as a full-time student. Maxwell said this policy is unfair and inconvenient. She has taken steps to voice her concerns, but has not received any response from the university.

“I changed my major in October last year from SBI to sociology,” said Maxwell. “I’ve been a sociology major for two semesters, and it’s really stressful because I can’t afford FAMU without the scholarship because I’m an out of state student.”

Requirements include a number of bachelor degrees awarded annually, 4-year graduation rates, 6-year graduation rates, median wages of bachelor’s graduates, and more affect the funding for state university resources including the scholarship programs.

Eleven universities, including FAMU, must meet requirements stated on the BOG Performance Funding Model for the Legislature and governor to appropriate any funding to the institution. The requirements are met by ensuring successful performances of all students.


Correction: The FAMUAN print issue erroneously attributed the story to A’nire Glenn. The correct journalist is Corenda Bell.