As Lee Corso from ESPN’s College Gameday show would say “Not so fast my friend!” Today’s Democrat published an article on the graduation rates of black students from various colleges around the state of Florida. I want to focus on two schools in particular, Florida A&M University and Florida State University. The article was written by Angeline Taylor who covers FAMU. http://tallahassee.com/article/20081222/NEWS01/812220321 I find her coverage to be biased and basically, I hate the bitch! In fact, this story has been around the block before. The Saint Petersburg Times did a similar story last year. http://www.sptimes.com/2007/11/19/State/More_blacks_succeed_a.shtml
Out of the 41,000 students that were enrolled at FSU in the fall of 2007, 4,392 were identified as black. That makes the perctange of blacks at FSU as 10.7% of the population. If we divide that number by 4 we have a total of 1098 students in each class. This is not scientific but you can see where I am going with this. So if FSU is graduating 70% of it’s black students, that means that they are graduating roughly 700 blacks students per year assuming that their enrollment is static. http://www.ir.fsu.edu/student/enrollment.cfm?ID=eth
The latest statistics I could find for FAMU are for the 2005 enrollment year in which the student population stood at 12,157. That would put each class at around 3039 students. Blacks made up 91.45 of the population. During that school year 1,933 degrees were awarded which included 1,302 at the baccalaureate level. That is a distinction that I did not make with the FSU stats. http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?a=oir
My numbers may be a little off but Taylor’s notion that FSU has graduated more blacks than any other school in a six year period in the nation is misleading. The numbers simply don’t add up. While I do not want to take away from the high percentage rate that FSU has achieved. The precept ion that FSU has ever produced more black graduates than FAMU is disingenuous at best and a downright lie at worst.
While FAMU can certainly emulate some of FSU’s success one also has to realize that FAMU does not have the resources that FSU has. We certainly have to work on retention but there are services available at FAMU that are also available at FSU. The Summer Studies program at FAMU would be comparable to FSU’s early admission program. This is not intended to be a FAMU vs. FSU piece rather than one to show that both schools have room for improvement. But the facts must be presented in an honest fashion and not be skewed.