St. Francis College Enrolls Largest-Ever Freshmen Class, Bucking National Trends
A testament to its recruitment efforts and student-first academic focus, St. Francis College welcomed its largest, most diverse freshmen class in its history this fall, bucking national trends that saw steep declines in enrollment of first-year college students.
“We’re absolutely thrilled that so many new students from such diverse backgrounds dove head-first into a St. Francis College education this year, despite the challenging circumstances we all face,” said Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., President of St. Francis College. “Our faculty and staff worked tirelessly to ensure students have the resources, structure and personalized academic experiences they need to thrive. Each of our students is on a path to achieve his or her dreams, and that makes us all so proud.”
For the first time in St. Francis College history, an incoming class has exceeded 700 students. A total of 747 students joined SFC as freshmen this fall, up 22 percent from fall 2019’s incoming freshmen cohort of 614.
Nationwide, freshmen enrollment dropped 16 percent this fall compared to last, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Another 158 students matriculated at St. Francis College as transfers or new graduate students, bringing the total new full- and part-time students to 905, an increase of more than five percent over last year’s new student count.
Seventy-three percent of freshmen identify themselves at Black, Hispanic, Asian or from another minority racial or ethnic group, reflecting unprecedented diversity for an incoming class.
The entire student body currently numbers 2,735, up more than five percent from 2,597 last fall and more than 13 percent from fall 2018, when 2,413 students enrolled. This bucks national trends that saw overall collegiate attendance dip 3 percent this fall semester compared to last, continuing a national pattern of declining enrollments from the preceding eight years.
When St. Francis College went fully remote in March, the Admissions team immediately created a robust series of online events to introduce prospective students to the College, attracting hundreds of participants. The team also embarked on an ambitious home-visit initiative, hand delivering welcome signs to more than 350 newly accepted students at their homes around the New York City region every day from May to September.
Rob Oliva, Director of Recruitment in SFC’s Office of Admissions, visiting one of more than 200 incoming SFC students
“Students at St. Francis College receive a personalized experience from day one, and that means from the moment they begin their college search journey with us,” said Rob Oliva, Director of Recruitment in SFC’s Office of Admissions, who himself visited more than 200 accepted students’ homes this summer. “We value every one of our prospective students—they are never just numbers to us—and it’s a privilege for my colleagues and me to know them on an individual basis. We truly believe that personal touch makes students understand they have a home here and truly belong.”
Under its Back to Brooklyn fall 2020 plan, U.S.-based freshmen are part of Terrier Communities, groups up to about 20 peers who can take up to three in-person on-campus classes together one day each week. The remainder of freshmen’s coursework is delivered via online instruction. Sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students take most of their courses fully online this semester, other than some nursing and science labs and clinicals that are taught on campus.
St. Francis College trains its faculty on techniques and technology needed to teach online successfully, and nearly all faculty have completed the curriculum SFC requires to become certified in online instruction.