Iona University is preparing to welcome its largest freshman class in five years.
Iona will welcome 800 new students in the fall. They have already paid a deposit and the university is convinced that summer melt won’t be a problem. That’s a 30 percent increase since 2019.
The university is hardly in a remote area, with campuses in New Rochelle and Bronxville, N.Y. It’s a Roman Catholic university in an area with many other Catholic colleges. Nor is it terribly wealthy, with an endowment of only about $200 million.
The class Iona is enrolling includes 36 high school class presidents and 220 members of the National Honor Society.
“I think the primary thing we did was to really focus on the student experience,” said Seamus Carey, the president. He said Iona was formerly a commuter college, but that changed with the 2021 purchase by Iona of Concordia College’s campus in New York. All of the students who require residence halls are living on the old Concordia campus. Classes are on a mix of two campuses.
A shuttle between the two campuses makes it “seamless,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, senior vice president for enrollment and student affairs.
Robert Schwartz, a counselor at Mamaroneck High School, said the new class at Iona will have seven students from his school, more than any recent year.
“My student feedback from those who visit campus all say that they felt special and welcomed while on campus,” Schwartz said. “The enthusiasm of the tour guides, faculty and student body reflect the new attitude of Iona University. Students who may have not considered Iona before a visit, certainly move it to the top or their list on their return.”