CV NEWS FEED // A new report shows that a handful of Catholic colleges and universities are seeing their enrollment numbers skyrocket, bucking the overall trend of college enrollment plummeting during the past few years.
“As most collegiate institutions grapple with disappointing enrollment, a slew of faithful Catholic colleges are reporting surprising enrollment numbers and financial support,” wrote The Daily Signal’s Mary Margaret Olohan.
Olohan cited several examples of Catholic institutions who have recently reported enrollment numbers at all-time-highs.
Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina saw its largest incoming class ever (1,654 students) for the 2023-2024 school year, a 10% increase from last year’s enrollment numbers.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, Benedictine College boasted a record undergraduate class of 2,213 students, marking a 121% growth for the college over the past two decades.
The Catholic University of America, located in Washington, D.C., saw its highest number of applications and deposits in the last five years, the Newman Guide release said. The Franciscan University of Steubenville welcomed 772 new freshmen, its largest class since its founding, and the North Dakota-based University of Mary had its largest freshman class (559) in its history.
“We keep hearing people refer to a ‘Newman movement’ because these faithful Catholic colleges just keep growing and setting the example of how to attract families today,” said Patrick Reilly, founder of The Cardinal Newman Society, in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“These colleges are traditional and counter-cultural at a time when most of American education is corrupted and on a path of self-destruction,” Reilly continued. “In addition, the ‘Newman movement’ includes faithful Catholic educators who long for and search for the environment these Catholic colleges provide.”
The Cardinal Newman Society is a nonprofit organization that “promotes and defends faithful Catholic education,” according to its website.
The Society calls the many successful Catholic colleges recognized in its Newman Guide “light in the darkness.”
Meanwhile, recent years have been tough for the broader higher education industry, showing just how much of an exception faithful Catholic colleges are proving to be.
CNBC reported that “there are more than 1 million fewer students enrolled in college” than in 2020.
The Associated Press (AP) noted: “What first looked like a pandemic blip has turned into a crisis:”
Nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022, with declines even after returning to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The slide in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.