TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — More than 38,000 students are expected to attend classes for fall semester this year at the University of Alabama. Monday morning, UA President Dr Stuart Bell spoke to CBS 42 about the upcoming semester that starts this week.

“Last year we talked about lots of records and one of those was the largest ever incoming freshmen class. I do expect us to eclipse that this year and we will set a new record for the incoming freshmen this year. We also set another record last year for the number of national merit students coming to the University of Alabama, those are students in the top 1% of their high schools,” Bell said.

Dr. Bell tells CBS 42 he expects more than 8,000 new freshmen to enroll this fall at UA. According to Bell, that will shatter last school years record freshmen enrollment of 7,600 students.

“If you walk across the campus and have a conversation with our students with their goals and dreams and the fact that this university has has been consistent. We had 9,400 graduated last year and we have seen those students progress. And to see the excitement on their faces to talk with them and ask where are you from? What’s your major are you living on campus?”

Bell tells CBS 42 he expects Alabama to compete for another national championship under Coach Nick Saban’s watch. Bell is hopeful Saban will stay on at Alabama for years to come.

“Coach Saban is probably not just looking at this year, but I’m sure he is looking at what he can accomplish in the next several years with his recruiting to make sure we have great young people. But also how we take those great young people and have success on the field, but also have success in life and Alabama and that coaching staff is focused on students and their success.”

This will be Bell’s eighth year serving as UA President. Classes get underway Wednesday.