Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mangum leaves FAMU with enrollment down to 9,612 students

The enrollment news at FAMU is bad. But it isn’t as bad as expected.

FAMU’s enrollment in Fall 2015 dropped to 9,920 (down from 10,233 in Fall 2014) under President Elmira Mangum. That loss of 313 students, with the rest of the student losses from that year, cost FAMU $9M+ in tuition and fees.

FAMU expected to lose about another $10.5M in tuition and fees due to its projected enrollment of 9,000, a loss of 920 students, in 2016-2017.

But Mangum told the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) during her final president’s report on September 15 that the university had 9,612 students for Fall 2016. That’s more than originally projected, but still a loss of 308 students from the previous fall.

The total amount of tuition and fee money FAMU will lose isn’t clear. But it could still end up being in the millions.

“Every 100 students means a million dollars out of our budget,” BOT Chair Kelvin Lawson said in an interview with the Capitol News Service.

Mangum defended the enrollment decline as being necessary in order to increase the quality of the students FAMU has.

“Quantity does have to be sacrificed in order to get quality,” she told the BOT.

The enrollment trends at North Carolina A&T University (NCA&T), which replaced FAMU as the largest single campus historically black college or university in 2014-2015, show that the claim Mangum made isn’t true.

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin hasn’t placed quality aside as he has expanded enrollment. He reversed the school’s decline in students in Fall 2014 after two straight years of falling enrollment caused by the federal financial aid program overhaul. The freshman, first-time student classes that Martin enrolled in Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 both had an average high school GPA of 3.28.

Martin has increased NCA&T’s overall enrollment again in Fall 2016 and brought in a freshman class with an average high school GPA of 3.48

An effort to recruit a bigger number of college-ready students doesn’t mean that enrollment has to decline. A university can recruit college-ready students and grow its enrollment at the same time. No one has to tell Martin that because he has strong enrollment management skills, something Mangum failed to develop during her presidency.

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