- Associated Press - Sunday, September 17, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The University of America at Birmingham increased enrollment this fall, with record numbers of both total students and freshmen for the second year in a row.

Enrollment increased by 7 percent this fall compared to last year, Al.com reported. School officials say student population grew to 20,902 - a 1,367 increase.

Last year’s record enrollment at UAB was 19,535.

“Our consistent enrollment growth across the board is a result of, and a testament to, the dedication of all UAB students, faculty and staff, as well as our many supporters in Birmingham, Alabama and beyond,” UAB president Ray L. Watts said. “There is a growing energy and excitement on campus - a momentum that represents many people working with strategic focus toward UAB’s standard of excellence in education, research, community service, health care and economic development.”

The enrollment growth exceeded Watts’ expectation when he was named president. His goal was to have 20,000 students by next year.

Bradley Barnes, vice provost for enrollment management at UAB, said a big reason UAB continues to see growth is because of increased student retention.

“We are keeping more students than before,” he said.

The university says UAB enrolled 2,299 freshmen, its largest class, representing an increase of almost 14 percent over last year’s record class of 2,021.

In the past two years, total enrollment at UAB has increased by 2,200 students.

Beginning this fall, a school official says UAB asked all freshmen to live on campus. Nearly 80 percent of freshmen live on campus now.

The freshman class is UAB’s most academically prepared, with an average ACT of 25.1 and average high school GPA of 3.66.

Despite enrollment being ahead of projections, Barnes said he doesn’t expect growth to slow anytime soon.

“We are up to 100 city blocks now. We are a large urban campus,” he said, adding the UAB is optimizing the space it has now. “We will continue to see steady growth over the next few years.”

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Information from: The Birmingham News, https://www.al.com/birminghamnews

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