Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Meyers had strong enrollment management skills that Mangum lacked

At her last FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, then-President Elmira Mangum defended her enrollment decline that cost the university millions of dollars.

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

The enrollment trends at public historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like North Carolina A&T University (NCA&T) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) show that the claim Mangum made isn’t true.

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin and the late NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White didn’t place quality aside as they expanded enrollment. Both succeeded in reversing the enrollment declines at their schools while also bringing in freshmen classes that had 3.0+ average GPAs.

Carolyn Meyers was another top administrator at a public HBCU who enlarged the quantity of her student body without any negative effect on quality.

Back when Meyers became president of Jackson State University (JSU) in January of 2011, she faced a much tougher enrollment challenge than Mangum. At FAMU, all the freshman classes that had entered under the permanent president and interim president who preceded Mangum had 3.0+ average GPAs. But at JSU, the freshman class average GPA in Fall 2010 had been 2.94.

The overhaul of the federal financial aid program in 2011 led the enrollment at JSU to go from 8,903 in Fall 2011 down to 8,819 in Fall 2012. But Meyers reversed the decline while enrolling higher achieving students each year.

Meyers got enrollment up to 9,134 in Fall 2013 with freshman average GPAs at 2.93. She continued improving the enrollment results through Fall 2015, when freshman average GPAs reached 3.03.

The Clarion-Ledger reported in Fall 2015 that JSU had the top three-year rate of enrollment growth in the entire state of Mississippi. JSU had a rate of 10.8 percent compared to 10.3 percent at Ole Miss.

Mangum let FAMU’s enrollment decline get worse while Meyers was moving JSU’s enrollment in the opposite direction. FAMU lost $9M+ in tuition and fees due to the enrollment decline during Mangum’s second year (2015-2016). The enrollment drop under Mangum was a key factor in the recent decision by Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade FAMU’s dormitory bond rating.

JSU has now surpassed FAMU in enrollment. Meyers left JSU with 9,811 students for Fall 2016. Mangum left FAMU with 9,612 students. Both presidents resigned this semester.

Carolyn Meyers, just like Harold Martin and Debra Saunders-White, had the strong enrollment management skills that Elmira Mangum lacked.

Source: JSU Fact Book, 2015-2016

Source: JSU Fact Book, 2015-2016

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