Published on February 22, 2011 by Philip Poole  

Samford University has set an enrollment record for the second consecutive spring semester and fourth consecutive semester overall.    

Spring 2011 enrollment is 4,600, topping the previous record of 4,489 set last year. Samford also had a record enrollment in fall 2010 of 4,715. The 2011 enrollment includes 2,782 undergraduates and 1,818 graduate students. 

Also significant is a 95.5 percent retention rate of first-year students, according to R. Phil Kimrey, Samford’s vice president for enrollment management.  

“Both the record enrollment and the significant increase in retention, we believe, are the result of our use of merit and need-based aid to address goals for enhancing the university’s academic profile,” Kimrey said. “Our students are being recognized for their high school achievement, leadership and community service. 

“Given the results of the past two recruitment cycles, as well as the significant improvements we have made in campus life programming, especially with the new campus life fee, we are seeing positive results in retention and new student enrollment.” 

Sarah C. Latham, Samford’s vice president for operations and planning, echoed Kimrey’s assessment. “Statistical models – both nationally and at Samford – reveal that high school academic preparation, as measured by high school grade point average and college entrance exams, is still the most statistically significant factor in determining retention and graduation. The way we are awarding aid based on those factors has positively affected our incoming student academic profile, resulting in higher retention.” 

Samford’s spring enrollment has grown 8.6 percent over the last five years, according to data compiled by Samford’s office of institutional effectiveness.  

Spring enrollment typically is lower than fall because of winter graduation and a small number of new students who enroll mid-year, Kimrey added. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.