One month before classes began, Florida A&M University (FAMU) senior Morgan Culler wondered how she would cover costs for the fall 2016 semester. Her uncertainty would soon turn into excitement when she received a call from the FAMU National Alumni Association (FAMU NAA) president letting her know she would be attending classes, after all.
The FAMU NAA paid more than $3,000 to cover her tuition through its Save Our Students (S.O.S.) retention campaign.
“They are helping me in ways they don’t even know. It’s hard to explain how I feel, but I am eternally grateful,” Culler said.
To date, more than 200 FAMU students have been awarded more than $120,000 from the S.O.S. campaign, which launched in February 2016.
Recently, the FAMU NAA announced a new way for donors to give to the campaign through a mobile platform. By texting “Rattler” to 50555, supporters can donate $10 to help other students like Culler. The goal of the campaign is to provide additional financial support to deserving FAMU students and to help increase retention and graduation rates.
Culler recently presented her capstone graduation project and will receive her Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Business Management, as well as a Master of Business Administration in 2017. Culler is a standout student and produced the FAMU Athletics “Voice of Bragg” television show that aired on Fox Sports 1.
“A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, knowing I don’t have to worry about finances and can focus on academics and my job in (FAMU) athletics,” she said.
FAMU NAA President Lt. Col. Gregory Clark said he is dedicated to ensuring students who face financial hardship are not left behind. Clark hopes the association’s efforts will inspire students to pay it forward.
“We need to help all of our students become graduates. We want to create a culture where philanthropy becomes important to them,” he said. “Hopefully they will remember that alumni helped them and do the same for someone else someday.”
FAMU Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson Jr., Ph.D., commended the NAA for its efforts to ensure that a college degree remains attainable regardless of financial barriers.
“The NAA’s dedication to student success is evident in its commitment to providing our students with the resources they need to learn and grow at FAMU,” he said.
Donations to the S.O.S. campaign are being accepted online at http://famunaa.org/v2/retentionscholarshipdonationform/.
A video about Morgan Culler’s story is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ShyrJxanhY.