A look at Troy University enrollment data trends

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2024

While Troy University is seeing some growth in online and international enrollment this year, the enrollment of in-state students has decreased more than 15 percent since 2011 and global enrollment has decreased 50 percent since 2010.

According to the Alabama Statewide Student Database maintained by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), Troy University has seen a decline of 16.3 percent in student enrollment between 2011 and 2023 going from 16,315 to 13,652. ACHE tracks only enrollment of students who reside in the state of Alabama and who attend the main campus, satellite campuses or online programs.

When including global student enrollment found on Troy University’s website, under Troy University Quick Facts, enrollment decreased from 29,689 to 14,881 in 2022, or -50% percent.

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“Like many institutions, Troy University has faced enrollment challenges in recent years, particularly among online students and international students,” Troy University officials said in a statement to The Messenger. “The higher education market is more competitive than ever, with more than 800 institutions closing in the last 20 years. Today, more than 300 out-of-state institutions recruit in Alabama and more than 30,000 students from Alabama attend college out of state.”

The University of South Alabama is likewise dealing with decreases in enrollment, seeing its number of enrollees decline -6.8 percent from 2011 to 2023.

Other schools, though, have been able to grow in-state enrollment. According to data provided from other state institutes to ACHE:

  • University of North Alabama enrollment was 10,059 in 2023, a 40 percent increase from 7,233 in 2011
  • Auburn University enrollment was 33,015 in 2023, a 29.6 percent increase from 25,469 in 2011
  • University of Alabama was 39,623 in 2023, a 24.8 percent increase from 31,747 in 2011
  • University of West Alabama was 6,195 in 2023, a 17.8 percent increase from 5,258 in 2011
  • Jacksonville State University was 9,672, a 1.9 percent increase from 9,490 in 2011

The university officials also cited regional growth in other areas of the state. “In addition, much of Alabama’s recent population growth has been centered in Madison and Mobile counties, away from (Troy University’s) traditional markets. Colleges also face declining public confidence. A recent Gallup poll indicated that American confidence in higher education has fallen to 36 percent compared to 57 percent in 2015,” the statement said.

When looking at just post COVID-19 enrollment, Auburn’s enrollment has increased every year since 2021, while Alabama’s enrollment has also increased each year during that timeframe. According to ACHE, Troy’s in-state enrollment has continued to fall slightly each year since 2021, from 14,537 in 2021 to 13,862 in 2022 and 13,652 in 2023.

Through a statement to The Messenger, Troy University officials touched on plans to tackle these enrollment trends.

“University leaders are engaged in an ongoing process of strategic planning to address the challenges of today’s competitive enrollment market,” the statement reads. “This includes a review of enrollment marketing strategies, program inventory and support services to ensure we can successfully recruit and retain students. The university is also committed to fiscal stewardship and budgeting to address challenges caused by recent enrollment patterns.”

University officials also pointed to some encouraging signs in the more recent numbers. According to ACHE, Troy University saw just a 1.5 percent decrease in enrollment from 2022 to 2023, a rate that university officials said shows a positive trend.

“There are several signs indicating positive movement in Troy’s enrollment trajectory,” the statement continued. “Net enrollment is currently up slightly year over year (2023 to 2024), and we are seeing growth in both international and online students.”

According to Troy University, the total headcount of enrollment from the spring of 2023 to spring of 2024 has seen a .05 percent increase from 13,738 to 13,745. Also, Troy’s spring online enrollment has seen a 3.55 percent increase and international sites have seen a .13 percent increase.

While Troy’s total headcount fell by 1.3 percent between 2022 and 2023, its online enrollment saw a 1.39 percent increase during that same timeframe and a 6 percent increase in enrollment at international sites.

“In addition, students continue to take as many or more classes. Credit hour production was stable in the fall and is currently up year over year,” the statement from the university said. “Troy University leaders remain focused on capitalizing on these positive enrollment trend and developing a patter of consistent enrollment growth in the years ahead.”