Community college students in Florida who have their sights set on pursuing a bachelor’s degree are flocking to the new Florida A&M University (FAMU) transfer student program titled, “IGNITE.”
In partnership with Florida College Systems (FCS) schools and community colleges, the program offers an alternative option for students to earn their degree after completing their associate’s degree. The 2+2 system (two years at community college, two years at the University) helps students to reduce the overall cost of attending a four-year university, in addition to reducing debt by offering scholarship programs and helping to eliminate excess credit hours.
“We’ve had previous partnerships with state colleges, but IGNITE is more rigorous because it provides a more streamlined approach to engaging students from high school graduation all the way to community college graduation,” said William Hudson, Jr., Ph.D., vice president of Student Affairs, who plans to add additional partners to the program in the near future.
Hudson added, “Our program is more specific and intentional with student support services, and plays an important role in the University’s implementation of its new strategic plan, “FAMU Rising,” which focuses on increasing the University’s transfer student population. IGNITE also gives us an opportunity to continue to fulfill our commitment of service to others by providing opportunities for Floridians who may otherwise have not had an opportunity to attend a four-year university.”
Current IGNITE partner colleges include:
- Broward College
- Miami-Dade College
- Santa Fe College
- Tallahassee Community College
- St. Petersburg College
- Palm Beach State College
- Valencia College
In fall 2018, FAMU will kick off new IGNITE partnerships with Florida State College at Jacksonville, Florida Gateway College and Pasco-Hernando State College.
Through Hudson and his team’s recruitment efforts, the University exceeded its goal of enrolling 794 transfer students for the 2017-2018 academic year. By the end of spring 2018, FAMU welcomed 854 transfer students. The University’s goal is to increase transfer student enrollment to 1,100 by 2020.
IGNITE offers transfer students from partner schools, who meet university requirements, guaranteed admission into FAMU. IGNITEalso offers a “shorter time-to-degree process” that guides students to degree completion by offering customized intensive advising, curriculum maps and priority registration. Also, IGNITE participants become eligible for the FAMU Florida Community College Scholarship.
“IGNITE has welcomed me in and monitored my success,” said Madelyn McClarey, a senior English student who transferred from Tallahassee Community College. “There has not been a time that I felt alone in the process, both personally and academically. It’s truly a family, ensuring that we (transfer students) have constant access to events, workshops and information on campus.”
McClarey added that the support she has received through the IGNITE program has “helped me to be more confident in my future endeavors.” She has become actively involved on campus and now serves as the president of the FAMU English Literary Guild and has garnered an internship with AmeriCorps.
While at their respective community colleges, students in the IGNITE program can begin taking advantage of program features that include an ID card that gives them access to FAMU sporting events and other activities, internship and career services, study abroad opportunities, graduate feeder program opportunities and a campus organization just for transfer students.
IGNITE is designed to give students who may not initially meet FAMU admission standards, an opportunity to first attend a partner community college to prepare them for success in the University’s nationally recognized academic programs.
According to Broward College’s North Campus President Avis Proctor, Ed.D., a FAMU alumna, IGNITE has the potential to impact students and citizens from all walks of life.
“Through our partnership, we are leveraging our resources to bring information about IGNITE to students so that they understand the opportunities that exist for them beyond their experience here at Broward College,” Proctor said. “And we are sharing this information with the citizens of Florida so they can have an improved quality of life as they pursue academic programs.”
Each participating IGNITE partner college offers students degree program pathways that align with the University’s academic offerings. For instance, at St. Petersburg College (SPC) students participating in the IGNITE Program have the opportunity to focus on biology, accounting, engineering, criminal justice and journalism.
“We are excited about this great partnership with one of the nation’s most esteemed HBCUs,” said SPC President Tonjua Williams. “This relationship allows us to expand educational opportunities for our students, who can start their college career as an SPC Titan and finish it as a FAMU Rattler.”