ROMEOVILLE – Lewis University is teaching its largest freshman class ever while total enrollment swelled to a record of more than 6,700 students this year.
The university’s freshman class totals 760 students. An addition of 453 transfer students also contributed to the record-breaking enrollment.
The enrollment count includes 530 students at a Lewis University regional center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“We’re very excited,” said Ray Kennelly, senior vice president for enrollment management, marketing and planning.
“It has been a really strong start to this academic year,” he said. “I really think it comes down to we have one of the few mid-sized comprehensive universities that has combined academic programs with a modest tuition.”
The university reported a significant increase in students studying science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, subjects. Post-baccalaureate and graduate programs like biomedical sciences, pre-medical studies, business analytics, and information security and management are also growing.
Kennelly said the university has been steadily growing in enrollment for 15 years.
“This year was a significant increase,” he said. “We’re expecting to approach 7,000 students across all levels of the institution in the near future.”
With more students, more resources must be devoted to classrooms and housing. About 460 first-year students are living on campus, another record for the university.
“We opened the year at max capacity for our residential housing,” Kennelly said. “There was a short wait list for housing when we opened up this year.”
Lewis is planning to add more housing space while renovating the St. Charles Borromeo Center for university use. Kennelly said that while three new residential halls have been built in the past 10 years, there may be discussion to build another one if current enrollment trends continue.
He also said that more staff and faculty will be hired to meet growing enrollment.