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The University of Alabama

National Merit U… The University of Alabama is in the Top 10 Percent in Enrolling National Merit Scholars; Expects to Top 2005 Record This Fall

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – As many top high school students make their final college commitments today, The University of Alabama prepares to enroll the largest group of National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic Scholars in its history, gaining ground nationally in the recruitment of America’s brightest and best students.

UA ranked 13th in the nation among public universities in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars in 2005, and 31st among all universities. The ranking placed UA among the top 10 percent nationally.

As UA admissions officials await prospective students’ final decisions today, the University already expects to exceed last year’s ranking in the fall. With 76 National Merit Scholars already committed to UA, the University is well on track to welcome a record number of scholars. With 19 National Achievement and 92 National Hispanic Scholars also already committed to UA, the University’s total number of national scholars, at 187, already tops the fall 2005 all-time high of 145.

“We were proud to attract a record number of these academically outstanding students in fall 2005, and we are proud to announce that we are working to attract an even larger number in fall 2006. These outstanding students could go to any university in the country and they are choosing Alabama,” said UA President Robert E. Witt.

In 2005, UA was third among SEC schools in enrolling National Merit Scholars, trailing only the University of Florida and Vanderbilt. UA ranked well above such outstanding universities as Johns Hopkins, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Michigan and the University of Georgia.

Last year’s freshman class included 72 National Merit Scholars (68 were recognized by the National Merit Corp. as having committed to UA before May 1 and were included in the ranking data). The class also included 13 National Achievement Scholars and 60 National Hispanic Scholars for a total of 145 national scholars.

“We now have about 350 of the nation’s top young scholars studying at The University of Alabama,” said Dr. Judy Bonner, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Their presence enriches the learning environment for all students. We look forward to welcoming to our academic community another wonderful class of the nation’s brightest and best students this fall.”

Last year’s freshman class included 639 students whose high school GPAs were 4.0 or higher, and 429 students who ranked in the top two percent nationally on the ACT, with scores of 30 or above. Some 612 freshmen enrolled in the Honors College. This fall’s Honors College freshman enrollment is expected to be up 10-15 percent, given that the College has already admitted 1,000 students, compared with an admit level of about 800 at this time last year.

More National Merit Scholars from the state of Alabama choose to attend UA than any other university. UA also attracts scholars from Texas, Florida, Georgia, California and many other states.

UA’s enrollment of national scholars has risen steadily in recent years, up from 69 in 2002 to 145 in 2005.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Cathy Andreen, Director of Media Relations, 205/348-8322, candreen@ur.ua.edu
  • SOURCE: Dr. Roger Thompson, UA associate vice president for enrollment management, 205/348-8167, roger.thompson@ua.edu