Safety and affordability bring
college students to Troy
By MICHELLE J. WILSON
Published Aug. 22, 1999
When Amy Philips-Redclift of San Antonio, Texas, began looking at colleges last year, she had never heard of Troy State University.
The TSU freshman political science major said she was looking at bigger schools, like the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. As Texas’ Junior Miss and No. 3 in her high school class, she could have enrolled in almost any university in the country.
She said she received full scholarships to 13 schools but chose Troy State because the school’s Southern hospitality won her over.
"I was welcomed here with open arms," Philips-Redclift said. "How could I turn that away?"
She joins about 4,500 full-time undergraduate students who attend Troy State University, according to Tom Davis, TSU public affairs coordinator. There are 5,200 total students on the Troy campus.
Students come from more than 45 states and 40 foreign counties, Davis said.
The majority of Troy State’s students come from southeastern states, although Troy State University markets its campus nationwide.
About 80 percent of the student body list Alabama as their home state, school statistics show, according to the TSU 1999 Fact Book. Florida brings the most out of state students at 264, and 113 students come from Georgia.
Most of those students come from high schools in northwest Florida and southwest Georgia.
Students are still registering for fall semester, so enrollment statistics for the 1999-2000 academic year are not yet available.
These students come to Troy State University from around the country and from around the world because of the school’s affordability and atmosphere, said Brenda Campbell, director of admissions at Troy State University.
"We have the best of both worlds," Campbell said. "We have all the big school advantages with the small school atmosphere."
A recent study found two-thirds of TSU freshmen on scholarships turned down scholarships at other universities, according to the TSU public affairs office.
The variety of financial assistance TSU offers and the school’s affordable tuition bring many of the students to Troy, Campbell said.
Of the top six reasons freshmen surveyed gave for selecting TSU, two are related to educational costs, she said.
Troy State was ranked No. 17 nationally by "Money" Magazine as a 1996 "Best Buy" in American public higher education. Among Alabama Schools, TSU’s tuition is even a better buy.
Besides the cost of college, campus safety is important to parents and students, Campbell said.
"Parents and many of the students are looking for a school with a home-like atmosphere," she said. "Parents want their children to go to school at a place that is safe and friendly."
TSU is one of the safest campuses in the country, according to articles published in "U.S.A. Today" and "The Chronicle for Higher Education."
"Parents and students emphasize safety when it comes to choosing a college," Campbell said. "They have even to worry about today just in high school."
Campbell sites the friendliness of the campus and Troy community as another reason students pick TSU.
"People say hello whether they know you or not they go out of their way to help people find their way around," she said. "There is a genuine caring among the students, faculty and staff."
"Students feel welcomed by the city."
Philips-Redclift said that is exactly how she felt from the first time she visit Troy. She chose TSU after her first visit to campus.
"It was Good Friday, and there weren’t many people here," she said. "I was walking into the Adams Administration Building and an administrator stopped and asked if he could help me.
"He gave me a campus map and answered my questions. He took his time to help me, when he didn’t have to."
That kind of friendliness has been characteristic of her time in Troy.
"People I don’t know wave and say hi when I pass them on campus, Philips-Redclift said. "I’m really happy here."
Philips-Redclift joined Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority and said she plans to get more involved in campus activities next year. She would like to join SGA (Student Government Association) and Collegiate Singers.
"Right now, I want to focus on academics," she said. "I like my professors, and they seem really student-oriented.
"As a freshman, I need that to make the transition from high school. This is a great opportunity for me."
Small class size brings many to TSU. The average class size is 35, Campbell said. "Students want to go to a school where they can get to know their professors," she said. "At TSU, all the academic courses are taught by faculty members who masters degrees as a minimum and who have a certain number of hours in researching and teaching in that specialty expertise."
Myers Curry said Troy State’s class size is the reason she chose it after graduating from Mountainbrook High School in Birmingham.
"I had a friend who was in a fraternity here, and he recommended it," said Curry, who is a freshman majoring in sports medicine. "I wanted to have small classes but enough people where I wouldn’t know everybody.
"Troy State just seemed safer that Alabama and Auburn. It seemed like the best place to go."
Aspects students find in Troy that are also a part of life at larger state schools like University of Alabama and Auburn University are NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics, Greek life and up-to-date academic and recreational facilities.
Not everything the school offers is on campus. Troy is centrally located. The city is less than a day’s drive from the Gulf beaches and major southern cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando and Birmingham are also reasons students pick Troy State.