Across the nation, interest in attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities is on the rise, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee is no exception.
The number of young people exploring FAMU—and vying to be Mighty Rattlers—has jumped significantly in recent years.
“FAMU is continuing its trajectory to become students’ destination for higher education as we have almost tripled the number of applicants as compared to last year, while increasing the academic profile of incoming freshman,” said Hugh Durham, director of admissions and enrollment management.
With a current enrollment of roughly 7,300 students from more than 70 countries, FAMU is positioned as one of the nation’s most popular HBCUs. Consider these quick facts:
- It’s the only HBCU among Florida’s 12 State Universities
- It has a 30 percent acceptance rate and an 82 percent retention rate
- On average, its first-time applicants have a 3.67 GPA and an ACT score of 23
On U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Colleges List, FAMU:
- Jumped one spot to No. 103 among Top Public Schools, maintaining its distinction as the highest-ranked public HBCU for the fourth consecutive year
- Ranked No. 7 among all HBCUs
- Ranked No. 23 among Top Performers on Social Mobility
But perhaps the most compelling reason prospective students choose FAMU is its distinguished history.
Founded in October 1887, it was a land-grant school dedicated to educating black students. By 1910, it had an enrollment of 317 students and had awarded its first degrees. By 1953, FAMU had achieved university status, and over the next 15 years, it added the schools of law, nursing, graduate studies and pharmacy to its academic offerings. They share a College of Engineering with Florida State University, and Fortune 500 companies for years have recruited talent from its College of Business.
“FAMU’s rich legacy enhances the lives of its constituents and empowers communities through innovative teaching, research, scholarship, partnerships, and public service,” Durham said.
One part of that rich legacy is the Meek-Eaton Black Archives, one of the premier research centers on African American history in the Southeast. The center houses more than 500,000 individual archival records that can be accessed by students conducting research or simply seeking to learn more about Black heritage.
In 1989, the “Marching 100” was the only band selected by the French government to be the official U.S. representative in the Bicentennial Celebration of the French Revolution, better known as Bastille Day, in Paris, France.
Another key aspect is FAMU’s vibrant campus life. When students arrive on campus, they aren’t just a freshman with an ID number, they’re welcomed as part of the “FAMULY.” That means being connected to a long list of service organizations, as well arts and athletic programs where they can discover and pursue their passions.
One program helping shape the FAMU Rattler identity is its band, the Incomparable “Marching 100.” Since getting its start in 1892 with only 16 instruments, the band has grown to more than 420 members. Consistently delivering high-energy, high-stepping precision at every performance, the Marching 100 has been featured in documentaries, films, commercials and more, and performed in five NFL Super Bowls and three presidential inaugural parades.
“These multiple aspects of the FAMU experience are continually working together to generate interest among current and prospective students,” Durham said.
“Our students have access to Fortune 500 companies, world-class internships, and top-ranked graduate and professional schools who seek our graduates,” he said, adding that what makes FAMU unique is its commitment to “providing access to a high-quality, affordable education with programs and services that guide students toward successfully achieving their dreams.”