UNA enrolls over 10,000 students

Trenedy Parks, Staff Writer

The University of North Alabama’s enrollment has broken 10,000 students for the first time since its founding in 1830. 

“Our growth strategy is intentional, and this historic enrollment of more than 10,000 is evidence that our academic priorities around workforce development resonate with learners of all types,” said UNA President Dr. Ken Kitts. 

University Director of Media and Public Relations Michelle Eubanks went into further detail about UNA’s “intentional and diversified enrollment strategy” mentioned in the article. 

“It’s an opportunity for the University to seek out learners of all types, whether those are first generation, the traditional first year student, or transfer students from two year or community colleges who are looking to finish their degree. But it’s also for the adult learner, the workforce development learner, our international student population,” said Eubanks. “It’s an opportunity for these programs, say in elementary education or in nursing, to seek out learners who are maybe looking to get ahead in their workplace, people who are looking to get their first degree, their second degree, or even their masters degree.” 

Kitts said the university has listened to the local and state legislators’ needs for academic programs that prioritize jobs in the Shoals, the region, and in Alabama. 

“A lot of the programs: computing, mathematics, health professions, and education are all jobs and programs that we know there’s a definite need for in the workforce now,” said Eubanks. “In looking at where we are, as a state and as a region, we know that those jobs – like healthcare, engineering, computing, and mathematics- are incredibly important not just for jobs but also for our future as a state. As we continue to grow and become a more relevant entity within our country.”

The workforce program is just part of what is bringing students towards the university. There are other programs and partnerships that bring in new students.

“In addition to the enrollment growth among freshmen, transfer, international, online, and graduate cohorts, more than 250 students have enrolled with UNA through a partnership in engineering and technology with Guizhou University-University of North Alabama International College of Engineering and Technology in Guiyang, China.” said Eubanks.

UNA’s enrollment number has not been published. Since enrollment fluctuates, the enrollment census date will close at the end of this month. 

“We will not have that exact figure until the very end of this month. When we hit that 10,000, though, we knew we hit that earlier in the month because of different hallmarks and benchmarks that we reached.” said Eubanks. “We know that number will go up even more as we get closer to that enrollment deadline, and that will happen around Halloween.”

Due to this record-breaking enrollment, UNA has now moved into the “large university” category. The small category is up to 4,999 students, medium is up to 9,999 students and the large category is 10,000+ students.