Published on September 8, 2020 by Sarah Cain  
Samford University Centennial Walk Web

Samford University announced today its 12th consecutive year of record enrollment, bucking national predictions of struggling fall enrollment nationwide due to COVID-19. University officials confirmed a record of 5,729 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs enrolled across the university for the fall semester. 

Included in the totals are 3,576 undergraduate and 2,153 graduate/professional students, representing 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 30 countries. The numbers reflect new individual records in terms of size and quality for both enrolled graduate students and the entering class of 971 freshman students.

“It is gratifying to see the hard work and resilience of our faculty and staff and their steadfast commitment to making this a place of superior learning and extraordinary personal development,” said Samford Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management R. Philip Kimrey. “There is no doubt these efforts, combined with the innovative work of our admissions team, greatly impacted the growth of our student enrollment this year. We are grateful for each student and family who chooses to invest their future at Samford.”

Developing engaging ways to share the unique Samford experience with incoming and returning students was essential to demonstrating the university’s commitment to student success despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. In the spring, Samford’s Office of Admission quickly developed virtual adaptations of recruitment events, including an Admitted Student Day, campus visits, college fairs, a series of informative webinar-style topical conversations, and personalized individual meetings and appointments. The tailored approach resulted in a record-high attendance of more than 1,000 families at virtual Bulldog Days, the university’s new student orientation. Beginning Sept. 25, the office will begin hosting Senior Days, on-campus experiences for high school seniors to tour campus in small groups. 

Samford faculty prepared all summer to deliver classes in several different modalities this fall semester, including in-person, online and a combination of the two, with a commitment to maximizing the number of in-person learning experiences. Approximately 86% of fall courses include some elements of in-person learning across all courses in all undergraduate and graduate degree programs; an estimated 52% of courses are face-to-face, and 34% of courses are hybrid, involving online modules offered along with in-person classes.  

The record fall enrollment comes at a time of growing national recognition and expansion across all ten academic schools at the university. Samford’s strategic plan outlines ambitious goals for enrollment, retention and student engagement.

Samford is regularly recognized as one of the top Christian universities in the United States and consistently receives high marks for value. Most recently, Samford was named #3 nationally for student engagement by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. In its annual ranking of the best colleges, U.S. News & World Report  ranks Samford 40th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching, making it the only Alabama university included in the list. The university was recently ranked #34 nationally among private universities on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s Best College Values” list.

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.
Samford University 2020 Annual Report