FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — The University of North Alabama (UNA) has called themselves the fastest-growing university in the state for years.
As of this fall, the university says it’s getting very close to 10,000 total students.
UNA has once again set a record enrollment of over 9,500 students and counting. That’s up more than 12% from last year.
“We expected a healthy increase, but a double digit increase even surprised us a bit,” said UNA Provost Ross Alexander. That number also broke the record for most students living on campus, with more than 2,200 living there this year.
The double digit increase comes as part of the university’s seventh year of immense growth, up nearly 45% since 2015. However, Alexander says despite approaching 10,000 enrolled students, the university is still the least-funded university per student in Alabama.
“We remain the most chronically and historically underfunded university in the state of Alabama, and it’s not even close,” Alexander explained.
He says that Alabama does not award university funding based on any metric of success, calling it “wanton, naked, political exercise.” That means as the campus grows, the amount of state funding per student actually goes down.
“So universities could be shrinking in enrollment and their per-student funding goes up,” Alexander said. “Does that make sense to you?”
As the university continues to expand, Alexander says he’s hopeful that they will eventually receive equitable funding.