Many universities across the nation deal with less than stellar retention and graduation rates.
But FAMU, like many other historically black colleges and universities has been hit even harder.
Although the graduation rate at these schools is above the national average for black student graduations that rate is only 42 percent.
"It's a different environment and it takes some time for students to transition we're trying to engage them early so that the students can have a very productive freshman year and then transcend that throughout their subsequent years," says Dr. William Hudson, director of university retention at FAMU.
Students say they have different reasons for wanting to continue year after year.
"My grades kind of made me get past the freshman year because they weren't as good as I wanted them to be so I wanted them to be better sophomore year so that's why I decided to come back so I could prove myself and show everybody I could do it a second year," says Brittany Gaston, a sophomore at FAMU.
"I wanted to be somewhere where there's a lot going on on campus because I like to stay active too but I also wanted to be somewhere where the academics is strong enough," says Brandon Swanigan, also a sophomore.
FAMU's six year graduation rate has jumped from a five year low of 39 percent for the class of 2007 to 41 percent for 2009.
Officials hope the number keeps increasing and know it will be a collaborative effort between individual students and the rest of the university.