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Florida State University's president touts increased applications but a need for more diversity

Students with backpacks walk on the FSU Campus
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media
Students take Legacy Walk to get to classes on the FSU campus.

Florida State University President Richard McCullough on Wednesday highlighted an influx of applicants to the school but said FSU has been “challenged” in bringing in Black students. Speaking to the Faculty Senate during an annual State of the University address, McCullough said FSU has received about 80,000 first-year applications for admissions.

“Eighty-thousand applications, 6,000 spots — (that’s) the most first-year student applications in the state university system in Florida,” McCullough said. The 80,000 would mark a continued rise in first-year applications.

In February, the university reported its highest-ever number at 74,000 for the current school year. The school also set a record the prior year at 66,033 applications.

McCullough, who was hired as president in August 2021, also pointed to diversity on FSU’s campus. McCullough said the university is “very close” to becoming what’s known as a Hispanic-serving university, with 24 percent Hispanic students. But it is lagging in recruiting Black students.

“We continue to be challenged, though, with African-American Black students. And we are making an effort, making investments to do everything we can to be one of the most competitive universities in the nation in this regard,” McCullough said. A 2021 report from FSU’s Office of Institutional Research said Black students made up 9.2 percent of the school’s nearly 44,000 students that year.