Last year, the University of Alabama (UA) reported a record-breaking freshman class, but only 37% of first-year students were from Alabama. This year, UA broke records again, not just for the number of students but for the overall number of students from Alabama.

Nevertheless, Alabama residents only make up 38.5% of UA’s first-year students, according to the university spokesperson. Of all students, in-state students make up 41.7%.

Freshman in-state enrollment climbed 6.6% this year compared to last year. Freshman out-of-state enrollment also grew, but only by 1%.

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.

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

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

A total of 39,623 enrolled in UA this year. This comes after the UA Board of Trustees froze tuition for the second year in a row. 

“We’re proud of our enrollment numbers – for all the new students, but also for those we are helping to thrive here and persist through graduation,” UA president Stuart Bell said in a press release on Monday. “UA is a First-Generation Forward institution, which means we have dedicated programs and resources designed to support those who are the first in their families to go to college.”

Bell credited the rise in in-state enrollment to programs like Alabama Advantage and Alabama Prestige. UA awards the Alabama Advantage scholarship to in-state students eligible for the Pell Grant. It awards Alabama Prestige to at least one student from every Alabama high school according to GPA, leadership and extracurricular activities.

UA also touted record enrollment of ethnic and racial minority students, citing a 9.4% increase from 2022.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.