Housing remains priority as enrollment rises

Jacksonville State University welcomed its largest freshman class with Freshman Convocation on August 18th, 2021.

Abigail Harrison, News Editor

The Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees heard from the Advancement Committee during the first day of its quarterly meeting on Jan. 24. 

Dr. Emily Messer, acting Vice President for University Advancement, led the committee. One important topic discussed was the enrollment report.

According to Messer, the university’s spring enrollment is estimated to climb to over 8,400 students by the university’s census date on Feb. 2.

The enrollment outlook for the fall shows a significant increase in admitted students. 

According to the admissions report given by Lauren Findley, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, data compared to the same date this time last year shows freshman admit rates are up 26%, housing applications are up 81%, and FAFSA applications are up 70%.

Findley said 10,000 application documents for the fall semester have already been processed. Data also shows that enrollment is up 1,224 in students from Alabama and 324 in students from Georgia.

Findley attributed the increase in enrollment to the university’s recruitment efforts and the state’s new requirement for all high school students to complete the FAFSA application.

While the university is excited for the growing student population, housing still remains a primary concern.

During the fall 2021 semester, the university calculated its highest enrollment in history, but finding a place to house incoming students soon became a problem. 

According to Terry Casey, Vice President of Student Affairs, 40 students had to live in the Hampton Inn at the beginning of last semester until they were placed in on-campus residences.

Casey said the university is looking for additional on-campus places to house students, and he said he feels very confident that they will be able to house upcoming students with these efforts.

In April, Casey will present a housing strategic plan to the trustees that will outline housing plans for the next five to ten years. There was also discussion about potential plans that could bring more off-campus living opportunities to Jacksonville.

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