Return to Program Profiles Florida Memorial University

First-generation students comprise 75 to 80 percent of the students at Florida Memorial University. The university used its CIC/Walmart Award to provide services aimed at increasing enrollment of black and Hispanic male students and improving their rates of persistence to graduation. To this end, all participants in the program were required to participate in counseling, which is supported by the university’s TRIO program. Each participant was required to consult with a counselor at least once a month with a focus on class performance, attendance, housing issues, and personal and family problems.
Tutoring services, also provided through the TRIO program, were another required element of the FMU program for first-generation students. These services were available each day.
Mentoring for participants in the program was offered by classmates in the College Explorers Program and alumni working with the National Alumni Association.
Participants in the program also were exposed to a variety of cultural and recreational activities, ranging from athletics to dances and movie nights. These activities helped keep participants engaged. In a somewhat related initiative, all participants were required to participate in some kind of co-curricular activity on campus—such as clubs, sports, or fraternities.
As an incentive, the program sponsored “GAP” scholarships (gaining access to persist), that helped students meet the cost of attendance when they were making satisfactory academic progress. Book vouchers also were offered to aid students who did not have the resources to purchase books.


Program Outcomes

The university recorded increased retention and improved GPAs among the targeted campus population of this grant program (African American and Hispanic males). The first-to-second-year retention rate of the men who participated in the 2008–2009 program was 89.5 percent, significantly higher than the 68 percent average for the university as a whole over four years. The university reports improvement in participants’ GPAs as well. In the first year, the average GPA was 2.69 for participants versus 2.67 for the general student population. In the second year, participants’ average jumped to 2.75 compared with 2.71 for the general student population.
In addition, the co-curricular activity participation rate of program participants was 80 percent, compared with 20 percent for the entire student population.


Program Updates

The university received $130,000 from the state of Florida to help sustain the program. The university also has a TRIO Student Support Services grant from the federal government that is aimed at providing services to support first-generation and low-income students.