Diverse, high-performing students highlight UAB 2015 fall enrollment

More students living on campus than ever, a record high-achieving incoming freshman class, students representing more than 95 countries and the highest-ever Honors College enrollment highlight fall student body.

obelisk 7Total fall semester enrollment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is above 18,000 for the third consecutive year, with 18,333 students and its most academically accomplished freshman class in the institution’s history.

With a mean composite ACT of 25 — the highest ever at UAB — the freshman cohort averaged in the top 21 percent nationally on the placement test. At 3.66, average high school GPA among the freshman cohort also represents an all-time high for UAB; nearly 30 percent of these freshmen graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and more than 58 percent graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class. Freshmen who enrolled at UAB with a 4.0 or higher GPA represent more than a quarter (28 percent) of the freshman class.

The UAB Honors College enrolled its largest-ever class, with an 18 percent increase to 1,260 students, and incoming freshmen in the Honors College averaged a 4.14 high school GPA and 30.4 ACT. Enrollment increases were also seen in the schools of Business, Dentistry, Engineering, Health Professions, Medicine, Optometry and Public Health. UAB continues to be one of the most diverse campuses in the nation; 38 percent of the overall student body is minority, and minority students make up 42 percent of the freshman class. Students enrolled at UAB now represent 95 countries.

“Many targeted enrollment efforts have been successful, and we will work intentionally over the next several years to increase overall enrollment,” said UAB Provost Linda Lucas.

After reaching record overall enrollment in fall 2014 at 18,698, enrollment declined 1.9 percent in the 2015 fall semester.

“Despite national trends in decreasing university enrollment, we are poised to make gains,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “We will do just that, guided by our ongoing strategic planning initiative and the recent important additions to our existing strong team.”

“I see tremendous opportunities to make gains in overall enrollment, and I am excited to be at UAB with this team, and about what the future holds for this institution.”
—Bradley Barnes

Key hires in recent months include Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Bradley Barnes, Vice President for Student Affairs John Jones, Director of Athletics Mark Ingram, Graduate School Dean Lori McMahon, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Curt Carver, and Chief Communications Officer Anne Buckley.

“We engaged students, faculty, staff, alumni and other supporters over the last year in important, high-profile executive searches,” Watts said. “We have the team in place that will build on and share the world-class opportunities we offer across this diverse campus.”

Barnes began his tenure leading Enrollment Management in July following a national search guided by a 15-member committee made up of students, faculty and staff.

“I see tremendous opportunities to make gains in overall enrollment, and I am excited to be at UAB with this team, and about what the future holds for this institution,” Barnes said.

On-campus infrastructure continues to grow to support enrollment gains and a vibrant student experience. A new student center is scheduled for completion this semester, and the recently opened freshman residence hall houses 714 freshmen, which allows UAB to house the largest number of students ever in residence. 

Plans for new and enhanced academic buildings — including a new building for the Collat School of Business and Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship — continue to move forward. Construction is underway on BBVA Compass Field, the future home of UAB Soccer, and the Finish the Drive Campaign was launched in August to support other new athletic facilities.

“From facilities to world-class faculty and academics, and unparalleled research opportunities, UAB has a lot to offer,” Watts said. “And the great work and support of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community will continue to show what it means to be a Blazer — what a privilege and opportunity it is to be at UAB, where knowledge is changing the world.”