[UPDATE] 5:30 PM by Stephanie Salvatore
More students than ever are taking classes at Florida A and M this year.
The school has reached a new record this year, enrolling 13 thousand 89 students. Administrators credit several things for the increase, including community college transfers, a boost in retention rates, and areas of study that are attracting students from throughout the state and the nation.
"We have a lot to offer incoming students, returning students, and future students because of the programs that we have and the new technology that we're incorporating at the university. I think we're gonna see some more record numbers and also improvements in our aspects of the university," says Dr. William Hudson, interim vice president of student affairs.
He also credits Dr. Ammons for his efforts in working to improve the image of FAMU over the years.
Tallahassee, FL - President James H. Ammons has broken FAMU’s all-time enrollment record.
FAMU enrolled 13,089 students for Fall 2010. That’s highest since Fall 2004, when FAMU brought had 13,070.
One reason for the enrollment increase is a big boost in community college transfers. The Ammons administration has made a practice of recruiting at every Florida community college (except the Florida Keys Community College) multiple times per year.
Former President Frederick S. Humphries created a recruitment program in 1985 that increased enrollment every year until he retired in 2001. He left the university with 12,349 students. Enrollment finally surpassed the 13,000-mark under President Fred Gainous, whose recruiting activities were led by Humphries-era veteran William “Bill” McCrary.
The years of enrollment growth came to an end in 2005 when trustees such as Bill Jennings and R.B. Holmes, Jr. let Interim President Castell Bryant destroy the university’s recruitment program and send enrollment into a nosedive. FAMU only had 11,567 students by Fall 2008.
The current student body is still smaller than FAMU’s classroom capacity. In 1997, Humphries and Ammons announced their goal of expanding FAMU’s student body to at least 15,000 by 2003. After the Board of Regents approved the plan, FAMU based its classroom building construction on that anticipated number.
When Ammons took over as president in 2007, he recommitted FAMU to getting its enrollment up to 15,000, the number it was supposed to reach years ago.
The enrollment boost is a big part of Ammons’ strategy to increase the university’s budget and save faculty and staff jobs.