University Posts Highest Enrollment in History


JSU's 2021 freshman class poses at Freshman Convocation on Aug. 19. Photo by Matt Reynolds.

by Buffy Lockette

It’s a great week to be a JSU Gamecock! Still celebrating its football team’s stunning win against Florida State University last Saturday, officials returned to campus to learn the university has officially posted its highest enrollment numbers in 138 years of recorded history.  

Following the university’s fall census date on Sept. 8, the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness calculated an overall headcount of 9,540 students, exceeding the university’s all-time enrollment record of 9,504 students in 2010 by 36 students. 

The university enrolled its largest freshman class, 1,818 first-time students, this fall. It also posted its highest credit hour production numbers – which measures the number of hours of course credit enrolled students are registered in – at 108,383 hours.  

“We are grateful so many students have decided to join the JSU family,” said President Don C. Killingsworth, Jr. “As more people visit campus, they learn what we have known all along – JSU offers an outstanding educational experience, taught by faculty who care, on a historic campus with all the opportunities and traditions of larger, more expensive schools.”

Compared to Fall 2020, the university’s overall enrollment is up 3.3 percent, or 302 students, and credit hour production is up 3.7 percent, or 3,916 hours. The upward trend in enrollment began three years ago, after Dr. Emily Messer, Vice President of Enrollment Management, was brought on board. Messer, however, credits the entire campus for the university’s enrollment success. 

“We have put into place a strategic recruitment plan, executed by a dedicated enrollment management team, to achieve the growth we are seeing at JSU,” Messer said. “However, we could not be successful without the support of our colleagues from across campus. Our attitude at JSU is that enrollment is everyone’s job – which means everyone should also share in the credit. All JSU faculty and staff have contributed to this historic achievement.” 

The university returned to full operations when the fall semester kicked off on Aug. 18, determined to offer students a traditional college experience in the age of COVID-19. Classes are offered in-person, social events have resumed and campus housing is at full capacity. The administration continues to work with the university’s COVID-19 Task Force to ensure appropriate safety precautions are observed. 

Applications are now open for Spring and Fall 2022. Test score requirements have been waived for undergraduate admissions through Fall 2023. Many graduate programs have waived testing requirements through Spring 2022. Prospective undergraduate students are invited to take a sneak peek of campus at Preview Day on Sept. 25 and Oct. 30.