The nation's five fastest growing flagship universities

University of Alabama's student body exploded 92% since 2000

Southern flagship universities are growing faster than any others in the nation, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Reporters from the newspaper analyzed federal data on enrollment from fall 2000 to fall 2013 and found that southern schools are exploding in size.

Flagship schools with the highest growth rates:

1. University of Alabama, 92%
2. University of Mississippi, 74%
3. University of Arkansas, 68%
4. University of South Carolina-Columbia, 58%
5. University of Nevada-Reno, 55%

And at the top four schools, nearly—or more than—half of the students were out-of-state residents who pay significantly more than their in-state peers.

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"That's been especially important for states like Alabama, where higher education has faced budget cuts," Alan Alexander writes for the Birmingham Business Journal.

The institution does not seem to be slowing down either. Alabama last year set a new record for total enrollment: more than 36,000.

State funding drops, nearly equals federal funding for higher ed

Not all schools have seen such growth, however.

Flagship schools with the lowest growth rates:

46. University of Texas at Austin, 5%
47. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3%
48. University of Florida, 1%
49. University of Kansas, -2%
50. Louisiana State University, -5%

LSU President F. King Alexander attributes his university's shrinkage to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "We just had a ton of people who left the state," he told the Post. "We're still moving back up toward the pre-Katrina years" (Anderson, "Grade Point," Washington Post, 9/25; Alexander, Birmingham Business Journal, 9/28).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.

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