FAMU’s enrollment has been declining since Fall 2012. State audits show that the drop in student numbers has cost FAMU tens of millions in tuition and fees.
The university had 13,207 students in Fall 2011. That went down to 12,051 in Fall 2012, 10,738 in Fall 2013, 10,233 in Fall 2014, and 9,920 in Fall 2015. FAMU only expects to enroll 9,000 students in Fall 2016.
According to the numbers in a Florida auditor general report, FAMU lost $3.2M in tuition and fees due to its enrollment drop in 2012-2013. That was followed by a tuition and fee losses of $6M in 2013-2014 and $9.2M in 2014-2015. The FAMU Division of Finance and Administration told the Board of Trustees earlier this month that the university lost more than $9M in tuition and fees after the enrollment decline in 2015-2016.
All that adds up to a cumulative loss of more than $27.4M.
FAMU expects to lose another $10M due to its projected loss of 920 students in 2016-2017. That will take the cumulative loss from the enrollment decline to $37.4M.
FAMU’s enrollment increased between the fiscal years that ended in 2009 and 2011. But FAMU and many other HBCUs were hurt by stricter eligibility requirements for the federal PLUS Loan program that went into effect in October of 2011 and Pell Grant changes that began that same year. Those changes resulted in thousands of low-income HBCU students being denied this critical source of financial aid and either having to withdraw from school or delay their entry into college.
The federal financial aid program overhaul led FAMU to lose about 2,000 students. Declining state support and rising fees have made the situation even worse for many potential FAMU students.
North Carolina A&T University is one of the HBCUs that is making steady gains in recovering from the damage caused by the federal financial aid crisis. Its enrollment increased by 1.6 percent in Fall 2014 and 1.2 percent in Fall 2015.