St. Bonaventure University

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Fall ’24 freshman confirmations highest in 35 years at St. Bonaventure

Jun 04, 2024

Despite significant delays in the federal financial aid process, St. Bonaventure University has more than 600 incoming freshmen confirmed for the fall semester.

As of this morning, 617 freshmen had committed to attend SBU this fall, the most on this date since 1989 and a 58% increase from the fall of 2015. The university’s freshman classes since 2018 have been the largest since 2009, including the two peak years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021).

The university has seen steady increases in nearly all of its primary recruitment territories, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and local markets in New York and Pennsylvania.

Out-of-state students come from 25 states and 11 countries, making up more than 22 percent of the freshman confirmations.

“As has been the case the last several years, this was a collective and collaborative effort across all divisions of the university, from our faculty to our facilities crews,” said Bernie Valento, vice president for Enrollment. “But I’m especially grateful for the dedicated and tireless work of our financial aid and admissions teams in this incredibly challenging year.”

Significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — better known as FAFSA — were meant to simplify the application process. But the new form wasn’t available until Jan. 1, three months later than normal, and subsequent hiccups in the launch of the new application only further delayed colleges’ ability to send financial aid offers to their prospective students.

Most colleges moved their College Decision Day from May 1 to either May 15 or June 1. The delay in sending aid awards didn’t allow students and their families to make informed decisions until months after they normally would.

“What our enrollment and financial aid teams accomplished, with the tremendous support of our Tech Services staff, is nothing short of remarkable during this extraordinarily challenging year,” said Dr. Jeff Gingerich, university president. “The collective efforts of our entire campus community to build the programs that students want and to produce graduates that the world needs is a testament to the Bonaventure spirit.”

The university has seen overall enrollment (graduate and undergraduate) increase to 2,618 students as of fall 2023, an increase of more than 30% since 2015.

Initiatives such as the six-year-old DePerro School of Health Professions and the addition of 27 new academic programs since 2015 have helped fuel the success. The university’s dual-degree Nursing program with the Cattaraugus County Campus of Jamestown Community College is now among SBU’s most enrolled programs, with 27 freshmen confirmed for the fall.

SBU also added its first doctoral program in 45 years — Educational Leadership, which begins this fall — and is continuing to develop graduate programs with market demand.

St. Bonaventure has also made significant enhancements to its infrastructure, with more than $60 million spent over the last six years and another $25 million in upgrades on the horizon, including major renovations beginning this fall for the Jandoli School of Communication.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).