The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics ranked Florida A&M University second behind the University of Phoenix-Online Campus in producing more blacks with bachelor degrees.
The survey was conducted during the 2007-2008 academic year and handed over to the Department of Education in mid-March of 2009.
Chief Communications Officer Sharon Saunders said Phoenix has become number one in producing undergraduate degrees, something FAMU has dominated for years.
“The University of Phoenix is number one in producing African-Americans with bachelor’s degrees, and for years, more than a decade, FAMU has been number one in producing that,” Saunders said.
According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Set (IPEDS), the survey reports data based on the number of degrees and other awards received in vocational, academic and ongoing professional education programs.
“Even though they have now become number one in degrees, we are still number one when it comes to the on-campus experience for African Americans,” Saunders said.
Ijang Menyonga, 19, a pre-pharmacy student from Miami said she is apprehensive about the subject.
“I have mixed feelings because both of my parents go to Phoenix and they’re both African-American and they’re both getting their master’s from there,” she said.
Both of Menyonga’s parents are currently taking online classes at Phoenix to receive certified licenses in the nursing field.
“I go to FAMU and I’m proud of FAMU and I also want them to be number one so my feelings are kind of mixed. But I think FAMU should strive to get number one next time,” Menyonga said.
On the other hand, students feel that getting degrees on the Internet are slowly becoming the new trend for education in the future.
“I feel that people are going more to the Internet and eventually we will all go to the Internet to get our degrees,” said Ericka Vann, 20, third-year business student from Detroit.
“Internet is becoming so big that it might just come to everybody getting their degrees online,” Vann said.
Joshua Mark, 20, a fourth-year computer information system student from Titusville, said the growth of online colleges coincides with the growth of technology, and he is not surprised that this generation wants to earn theirdegree online.
“The fact that it’s rising with African-Americans in particular is probably because of the lack of funds or maybe their social standings,” Mark said.
Mark said some people might have kids that they do not want to leave at home. He said it might be easier to get a degree online.
“One of the things that we are actually working on is enhancing and developing the infrastructure to provide online courses,” Saunders said.
Saunders said one of the first steps taken toward this goal was to hire the director of distant learning, Franzetta Fitz.
Fitz’s job is to manage the distance education course that is offering the online courses.
Vann said she thinks it is better if people go on campus and get their degree.
“I’m pretty sure most businesses feel that way also,” she said. “I feel that FAMU will come up and people will realize that getting your degree online isn’t the best thing for them and that they should have the full college experience,” Vann said.
According to Saunders, the university is striving to reclaim the number one title.
“My feeling is that we want to be number one and we’re going to strive to have that number one status again and we’re going to do that by developing our infrastructure for online business education courses,” Saunders said.
“I’ll like to see it get back to because there’s nothing that they’re teaching anywhere else that we can’t do here,” Mark said.