The HBCU Endowment Feature – Florida A&M University


School Name: Florida A&M University

Median Cost of Attendance: $25 888

Undergraduate Population: 11 180

Endowment Needed: $5 788 556 800

Analysis: Florida A&M University needs approximately a $5.8 billion endowment for all of its undergraduates to attend debt free annually. Its current endowment is approximately 1.7 percent of its endowment needed. One of the most intriguing HBCUs given its size. It is one of the larger HBCU undergraduates in terms of sheer number and does an excellent job of creating loyalty from its graduates which arguably means its endowment should be larger. There are some that would argue given Florida A&M University’s size, rivaling Howard University in population, that the school’s endowment should be at least twice its current size. With the number of undergraduates it puts out each year in the coming decade it could become a major competitor for the race to $1 billion among HBCU endowments assuming the college’s demographics continue on a steadily increasing trajectory. It also has one of the 5 HBCU law schools which allows for potential high quality donors. Unfortunately, Florida A&M could become its own worse enemy. Lawsuits and continuing issues with hazing could cost the school millions and become a major setback. It also could do serious damage to an otherwise stellar brand. There is also a void in leadership currently as the school seeks to fill its presidency. This will certainly have a capacious impact on the direction and vision of Florida A&M University in the coming decade. Florida A&M University’s competition with the “other” Tallahassee college could influence the school’s ability to grow its graduate school and produce higher quality donors so it is important to watch the strategy developed when the new leadership is installed. It can not be understated that it is the most high reward/high risk endowment currently in the HBCU landscape given that it has so much going for it but facing sobering headwinds. The Rattler nation’s resolve should not be underestimated but let us just hope they do not continue to make things harder for themselves. If Florida A&M University can focus the ship greater pastures await and if it can not it has the danger of becoming the Titanic.

As always it should be noted that endowments provide a myriad of subsidies to the university for everything from scholarship, faculty & administration salaries, research, and much more.

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