The origins of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (usually abbreviated A&M) stretch all the way back to 1887. In those early days, the institution was known as the State Normal College for Colored Students and later the State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students. The university took on its current name and organizational structure in 1953. A state-supported land grant institution, Florida A&M is part of an 11-school system which includes Florida State University and the University of Florida. The capital city of Tallahassee is home to both A&M and FSU, with A&M on the south side of town.
Florida A&M offers 62 bachelor’s degree programs and 36 master’s degree programs within its network of 13 schools and colleges. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A research-centered institution, Florida A&M’s funding for medical and scientific pursuits exceeds 50 million dollars.
The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M is one of the most highly-regarded in the nation. Extension campuses are located in Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa and Crestview. Enrollment in the highly selective college numbers just over 1,000. A number of factors distinguish A&M’s Pharmacy Program from the rest of the pack. Graduates of the program pass the National Board of Pharmacy Examination on their first attempts over 90% of the time. Each PharmD graduating class has accumulated around 25,000 hours of community service through free clinics and other health services. Additionally, Florida A&M’s College of Pharmacy is unique in offering both MPH and DrPH degrees in Public Health.
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Florida A&M’s marching band, known as the Marching 100, has been repeatedly hailed as one of the premiere collegiate marching bands in the world. William Patrick Foster directed the band from 1946-1988 and received the College Band Directors National Association Lifetime Achievement Award, one of only five individuals to receive the honor. Under his direction, the band remained at the cutting edge of marching band creativity and innovation.
The Marching 100 have performed at many noteworthy events, including the Super Bowl, Bastille Day in France and two presidential inaugurations.
Slightly more than half of freshman applicants earn admission to Florida A&M. The Office of Admissions provides both hard-copy and online applications, both of which require payment of a non-refundable fee. Florida residents are eligible for a fee waiver. Freshman applicants also must submit official high-school transcripts with their completed application.
Florida A&M encourages both international students and transfer students to apply. Transfer students need to have certified transcripts from all previous college coursework. International students must complete the International Applicant Financial Statement, demonstrating adequate funding for their academic career at A&M. Applicants whose native language is not English must achieve a certain minimum score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
Most students who attend Florida A&M receive financial assistance of one form or another. Federal and state grants represent “gift” money that does not have to be repaid. Grants are typically need-based. Scholarships are also available from internal and external sources. Every scholarship has a particular application process and submission deadline. Florida A&M offers seven merit-based institutional scholarships that cover all or part of a student’s tuition and fees. Private and government loans are often a last resort for students still unable to meet their obligations. Federal loans offer forgiving interest rates and flexible repayment plans. An admissions officer will help students explore all of their financial aid options.
The Financial Aid Office is located in the Foote Hilyer Administration Building and is open during business hours.
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One of several historically black colleges in the southeastern United States, Florida A&M’s undergraduate student population is over 90% African-American. A slight majority of students are women. Florida A&M has fewer part-time and non-traditional students than comparable schools. The university’s recruitment focus appears to be on high-schools and first-generation college students.
Most students at Florida A&M reside in university-affiliated housing such as a dormitory or Greek house. Room and board costs are in addition to regular tuition and fees.
The Career Center at Florida A&M helps students gear their coursework and professional development towards their desired vocation. Workshops, career counseling, resume help and mock interviews all make entering the world of work less daunting.
Florida A&M makes every effort to accommodate students with disabilities. Prospective students with mental or physical challenges are encouraged to contact the Center for Disability Access and Resources (CeDAR) and discuss their unique situation and needs.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Florida A&M offers the following intercollegiate sports for both men and women: basketball, tennis, cross country, track and field, and swimming and diving. Men also compete in football, baseball and golf, while women compete in softball, bowling and volleyball. The school colors are green and orange, and the official mascot is the Rattler, or rattlesnake. The color green is representative of agriculture, with orange symbolizing Florida’s citrus industry. Several Florida A&M teams have gained national prominence at one time or another, but none more so than the football team.
Florida A&M currently competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly NCAA Division I-AA. The team won the Black College National Championship eight times between 1938 and 1961. The legendary Jack Gaither was coach throughout this era, amassing 203 wins and seeing 42 of his players move on to the National Football League. Gaither was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
Every year, Florida A&M takes the field against Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic, the last game of the season for both teams.
- Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. 2011. Web. 15 July 2011.
- Florida A&M University. US News and World Report, 2011. Web. 15 July 2011.
- Petersons Four-Year Colleges 2011. New Jersey: Peterson, 2010. Print.
Josh is a full-time professional writer and organic farmer who lives in rural Kentucky.