Fall enrollment sees slight decrease from 2017


CW/ Jake Arthur

Kennedy Plieth, Contributing Writer

For the first time in 17 years, The University of Alabama’s total fall enrollment did not increase from the previous year’s fall enrollment.

According to the UA website, total enrollment for fall of 2018 reached 38,392, compared to fall 2017’s total of 38,563, a decline of about 200 students.

Since 1944, UA total fall enrollment numbers have increased each year, except for 17 different occasions. Since the last decrease from 2000 to 2001, the University saw an enrollment increase each year until the dip from 2017 to 2018, according to a document published by the UA office of institutional research and assessment.

In the last year, the University has made efforts to encourage in-state students to attend The University of Alabama, whose student body has predominantly consisted of out-of-state students.

“[The decrease in enrollment] was largely due to our renewed focus on in-state enrollment and the reallocation of scholarships,” said Monica Watts, associate vice president for communications.

According to the scholarship website, the UA merit-based scholarship standards were lowered to allow in-state students with a 21 to 24 on the ACT (or 1060 to 1190 New SAT) and at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA to receive the lowest level of scholarship, a six point lower ACT score than previously required.

Alternatively, the out-of-state merit-based scholarship standards were raised. According to the scholarship website, out-of-state students must now have a 27 ACT (or 1260 to 1290 New SAT) score and at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA to receive any merit-based scholarships. The class of 2022 is the first to have been enrolled based on these standards.

Even though there was a decline in numbers, Watts said there isn’t a concern because administration had expected it to happen with the new policy changes.

For some UA students, scholarship money was a factor in how they chose where they would pursue their higher education. With the new policies in effect, which made the ACT score requirement higher for any form of out-of-state scholarship, many out-of-state students who would have been candidates for scholarships were no longer in that position.

The new policies changed the stakes for a full tuition scholarship, mandating all students need a 4.0 cumulative GPA and a perfect score on their respective test, rather than a 32 on the ACT, which it had been in years past.

“If I was applying to UA for this fall, I would not have attended because I would not have received as much scholarship money,” said Skyler Lynch, a sophomore majoring in management information systems.

Regardless of the focus this past year in recruiting Alabama residents to attend the University, and the scholarship standards being lowered for those students, Lucy Harkins, an Alabama resident and freshman majoring in advertising, said the changes made do not alter the reputation the University has within the state.

“The school isn’t known for quality education by most people in Alabama,” Harkins said. “It has a bad reputation.”

Because the University is giving more scholarship opportunities to in-state students, Emily Vallario, a sophomore majoring in creative media, said scholarship money should be offered for academics, not to increase in-state enrollment.

“I think that they should be focusing on making academics better and offering more money because of academics rather than because we have to,” Vallario said.