University of South Alabama Enrollment at Historic High

Posted on September 3, 2015
Joy Washington

As students settled into their back-to-school routines on the campus of the University of South Alabama, the total enrollment for fall semester 2015 climbed to 16,462, a 2.54 percent increase from last fall and the highest enrollment in USA's history. The increase adds 407 students to the total of 16,055 enrolled in Fall 2014.

There are increases in several categories, including the incoming freshman class, graduate student enrollment and African-American student enrollment.

“One of our five areas of strategic focus is student success and access, and these increasing numbers show that we are making significant progress on this priority,” said Dr. Tony Waldrop, USA president. “Our faculty and staff are committed to academic success, and when students visit our campus, they see firsthand the quality of our faculty, programs and facilities. These factors make the University of South Alabama a first choice for a growing number of students.”

In addition to the total student enrollment, areas of enrollment with historic highs are:

  • First-time freshmen: 2,105
  • Graduate students: 4,389
  • African-American students: 3,478

South Alabama continues to focus on academic quality as well. The entering freshman class includes 253 students with ACT scores of 28 and above, 153 students with 29 and above, and 102 with 30 and above.

The University drew new freshmen from 471 high schools nationwide, with Mobile’s Baker High School providing the highest number of students in the University’s first-time freshman class.

The University also retained 73 percent of last year’s freshman class, continuing a positive trend that will be reflected in improved future graduation rates. The retention rate has increased by 2 percentage points from last year, and has risen 8 percentage points in four years.        

Student retention is one of the most important issues facing higher education nationally, and it’s a major area of focus on the South Alabama campus.

“We are pleased with our retention efforts,” said Dr. David Johnson, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “We are continuing to focus on programs for improved progress toward graduation for our students, and we have implemented numerous resources to help them get there. We are giving students the support they need to achieve their goals.”

The University is committed to enriching the academic experience of all students and offers an array of academic support services in the recently renovated 32,300-square-foot Academic Services Center, which was formerly the University Recreation Center.

The Academic Services Center is a one-stop-shop for academic resources. In addition to Success Center and the Advising & Transfer Services, the building houses the Writing Center, the Math Technology Lab, Student-Athlete Academic Services and the Student Veterans Administration Office, as well as a study lounge. Students looking for academic resources can now find them in one location.

“Success Center is the academic resource center where all students may receive academic tutoring, as well as get support at the new Advising & Transfer Services, where new students can receive academic advising from professional staff,” said Dr. Nicole Carr, executive director of student academic success. “Our academic advisors are also working with incoming freshmen to create a personalized four-year graduation plan.”

Carr said other initiatives offered through Student Academic Success include JagPals who are outstanding students trained to serve as peer mentors and provide tutoring through Success Center. Success Center and its JagPals also offer academic success workshops across campus, and online. First Year Experience courses are also coordinated through Student Academic Success and the Academic Services Center, which includes a classroom. Learning communities and scholarship-related programming are also managed by Student Academic Success. The unit collaborates extensively with Student Affairs to include academic resources in the residence halls, such as help with homework in New Hall and programming through Week of Welcome.

Carr said it was imperative to build a team of academic advisors for the new First Year Advising team and hire additional professional staff to help manage the initiatives and resources provided to students. Catherine Preston, director of First Year Advising has recently joined the team.

“I am thrilled at the work we are doing to support student success at the Advising & Transfer Services,” Preston said. “We have our advisors in place, and we are ready to help students with their academic success plan.”

Additional staff includes Ira Johnson, assistant director over the JagPals mentoring program and the JagROOTS mentoring program for minority students. He manages the daily operations for the tutoring/coaching center, and Tina Hancock serves as learning community program specialist.

To find out more about the initiatives and resources available in the Academic Services Center, visit

For more interesting details about the incoming Class of 2019, visit

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