Bama enrollment reaches all-time high

Bama+enrollment+reaches+all-time+high

Katherine Martin

Enrollment at the University hit a new high this fall at a record 31,474 students, according to a UA press release.

Total enrollment is up five percent with an increase of 1,515 students since fall 2010, and includes 26,234 undergrads and 5,513 graduate and first professional students, the release stated.

This year’s freshman class is largest in the University’s history with 5,772 students.

“Once again this fall we welcomed to campus the largest and most academically talented freshman class in our history,” UA President Robert Witt said. “We are pleased that excellent students are recognizing the quality and value of a University of Alabama education.”

Last fall, Witt announced a goal of increasing enrollment to 35,000 by 2020 or earlier. Enrollment is up 62 percent from Fall 2002 and has been following an upward trend since 2001, according to the Office of Institutional Research.

To keep up with the growing number, UA Spokeswoman Cathy Andreen said the University has planned carefully for growth in both numbers and quality since 2003 by adding faculty, facilities and support functions.

In 2003, the University employed 1,115 faculty members and had a total enrollment of 20,290 students, according to Provost Judy Bonner and the Office of Institutional Research. In 2010, faculty members had increased to 1,618 with a fall enrollment of 30,232, keeping the ratio of faculty to students relatively equal.

In addition to hiring additional faculty members, the Capstone has been continuously adding construction projects to accommodate the growing campus population, Andreen said.

The University is currently building a new student housing facility, phase one of the North Bluff Residential Community. The facility is set to open in August 2012 and will house more than 900 students, Andreen said. The Board of Trustees has just approved the second phase of the residential community, which will be a seven-story, 864-bed facility next to phase one.

Andreen said the University also plans to build a student recreational center and dining hall between the two new buildings.

Additionally, Phases three and four of UA’s Science and Engineering Complex, which began with the construction of Shelby Hall completed in 2004, are now under construction and are expected to be completed in 2012 and 2013 respectively.