President's Mansion at The University of Alabama

UA Ranks Second among Publics for National Merit Scholar Enrollment

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama ranks second nationally among public universities and fifth among all universities nationwide in enrollment of National Merit Scholars for the 2018 entering class.

President's Mansion at The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama President’s Mansion

UA enrolled 185 new National Merit Scholars in its freshman class, ranking it number one in the state of Alabama and second nationally, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp. annual report. This gives UA a total of 614 National Merit Scholars enrolled at the Tuscaloosa campus.

“The legendary Alabama experience attracts the best students in the state and the nation,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “Our commitment to, and pride in, academic excellence is evident in our National Merit enrollment. We’re honored they choose to develop their potential here, and we’re dedicated to providing challenging, life-changing curricula in and out of the classroom for all students.”

In order to qualify to be a National Merit Scholar, students must score among the very top of those taking the Preliminary SAT college entrance exam, complete an application process, and maintain a high grade-point average in high school. Winners are competitively chosen based on abilities, skills, and accomplishments, including academic record, activities, leadership and an essay.

The University of Alabama has become known as one of the nation’s leading flagship institutions, consistently attracting some of the highest achieving students in Alabama and across the U.S.

About 40% of UA’s 2018 freshman class scored 30 or higher on the ACT, and more than 36% were in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. The entering class carried an average high school GPA of 3.71, with more than 34% having a high school GPA of 4.0 or higher.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. recognizes and honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs. NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.


Deidre Stalnaker,, 205-348-8718