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FAMU Enrollment Down after Death and Turmoil

August 25th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

This fall marks the fifth anniversary of the hazing death of Florida A&M University Drum Major Robert Champion. The University settled the case for one point one million and an apology, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the cost to the university has been much higher.

When Robert Champion died in 2011, FAMU had 13,207 students enrolled. Now, five yeas later, one third fewer students are attending classes.

President Elmira Mangum calls it: “Rightsizing this institution.”

In the most recent figures available, the number of new freshmen choosing FAMU has also been cut by a third.

Jasmine Simon from Miami is bucking the trend.

“FAMU seemed like the best place for me with the community and everybody seems to care. And they are really focused on you graduating and doing well” says Simon

FAMU is the only state university that has seen a major decline in enrollment. Everywhere else, there’s a modest increase.

FAMU’s President is also engaged in a highly public spat with her board over her contract, casting doubt on the school’s future direction. To it’s credit, it’s also trying to improve a 38 percent graduation rate by going after better students like Makala Shannon from Atlanta Georgia who more likely to graduate.

“Because of my SAT and ACT scores, i received a full scholarship” says Shannon

But every student that hasn’t or isn’t coming to FAMU has a cost for those who do come here says Board of Trustees Chairman Kelvin Lawson/

“Every one hundred students means a million dollars out of our budget.”

Q:”Which affects everyone here?”

“It effects everything.everything we do. Students are the lifeblood of what we do” says Lawson.

And even if FAMU decides that it’s right size is smaller for the future,it is still a thousand students short of the goal.

In 2010 FAMU hit a high for enrollment at 13,277. An estimated 9200 students are in class this fall.

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