The University of Alabama (UA) reported a record-breaking 2022-2023 freshman class on Monday, totaling 8,037 students, only 37% of whom are from Alabama.

This is an even smaller proportion than the undergraduate population from Alabama in the previous academic year.

In 2021, only 42.1% of UA’s fall undergraduate students were from Alabama. The remaining 57.9% came from out-of-state and 92 foreign countries.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, the university enrolled a total of 38,645 students, toppling its 2017 record of 38,563.

The enrolled students come from all 67 Alabama counties and all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and 88 foreign countries.

How do other state-funded universities compare?

UA is the first school in Alabama to post enrollment numbers for the 2022-23 academic year, but information about the 2021-2022 academic year is available at other institutions.

According to the latest available statistics, Auburn University enrolled 31,526 in fall 2021, and 54% were from Alabama.

The University of South Alabama enrolled 1,335 first-time freshman students from Alabama in the fall of 2021, which made up 75% of the 1,778 total first-time freshman students enrolled that semester.

University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) educated 13,547 students in 2021, 84.1% of whom were from Alabama.  

According to a 2021 article from the Atlantic, UA began recruiting heavily out of state in the early 2000s due to the much higher tuition for out-of-state students versus in-state residents.

According to U.S. News, in-state tuition for UA is $11,940. Out-of-state tuition is almost three times higher, at $32,300. 

The Atlantic cited Robert Witt, former president of UA and former Chancellor of the UA System, as the mastermind behind the shift.

Witt came to UA in 2003 and targeted out-of-state students in response to pressure from university faculty and administrators to raise pay, according to the article.

"The University of Alabama System educates more Alabamians than any other university system," advised Shane Dorrill, assistant director of communications for UA. "As the state’s flagship, The University of Alabama’s priority is to enroll, educate and graduate students who reside in Alabama. This commitment is directly in line with our institutional mission. UA’s total in-state, in-person enrollment percentage is 43.3%. We actively recruit in-state students and have seen a continued increase in our in-state freshman numbers over the past several years. We are proud to enroll students from every county in the state."

Dorrill said that UA helps meet workforce needs in the state by partnering with several entities to attract students to fill Alabama's workforce pipeline.

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