The new number, 9,490, means the university is about 500 students away from reaching its goal of enrolling 10,000 for the second year in a row.
“It’s a number mark that has been set and that’s what we’re working toward,” Andy Green, the school’s director of enrollment management, said. “It definitely showed that there is still work to be done.”
The enrollment numbers are also of importance to the university’s bottom line as the institution is more dependent than ever on tuition due to state funding cuts, officials said. Currently, Green’s department is in the height of its academic recruitment season for the fall.
He said the school’s academic recruiters spend six of seven nights each week on the road, pitching a JSU education to high school seniors, next year’s could-be freshman. This year’s freshman class is one area where JSU did see enrollment growth this fall.
More freshmen, 1,414, enrolled at JSU this fall than ever before, according to a release from the university.
Green said the freshman class must make up for the students who graduate in the spring and summer.
“Our incoming students have to compensate for our outgoing students,” he said.
JSU also saw growth in the university’s College of Nursing, which enrolled 1,196 students this fall. That’s 74 more nursing students than last year and is the most popular major on campus, the release states.
Other than nursing, programs attracting the greatest number of students at JSU include criminal justice, business, biology and elementary education.
The university’s online program also grew over last year, adding 104 students. The total number of JSU students enrolled in online courses — regardless of whether they’re taking classes in person as well — is now 39 percent of its enrollment, according to the release.
Students asked Friday about the size of the university said they weren’t so sure if a bigger JSU would be a better JSU.
“I love JSU, so if it was to get smaller, if it was to get bigger, I’d still love it the same,” said senior Natasha Williams, a nursing student from Jacksonville.
Star staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544.