If you think the Quad is teeming with freshman, you are not just getting old and sentimental — the class of 2018 is a record high freshman class boasting 1,068 new students on campus.
This increase seems to be indicative of a trend of increasing class sizes with the junior class coming in second with 990 students and the sophomore class following behind with just over 960 students.
According to the Office of Admissions statistics, Fairfield received a four percent increase in applications, receiving almost 10,000 applications at the Aloysius P. Kelley Center last year.
Numbers this large on a campus this small can raise a few concerns, largely focusing on where to place the more than 1,000 on-campus students.
The most probable and feared answer comes from the forced triple, and it seems as if every freshman knows at least one person in this type of living arrangement.
However, Associate Director of Residence Life Charles Sousa assured that any room with three people in it is a “true triple,” or a room specifically designated and spaced for three people, rather than a traditional dorm room that somehow has been forced to house three people.
Sousa has suggested that the only real impact the increase has on freshman is the lack of flexibility when it comes to roommate mediation.
When asked how to fit an expanding Fairfield on a stagnant campus, Sousa explained that “every year we reevaluate and make new models” when it comes to designating who goes where.
This year’s strategy included a second release of seniors to live off campus and the reuse of rooms in Claver Hall that have previously been used as lounges. A wing in Loyola Hall is also being used as just sophomore living, rather than as part of the Ignatian Residential College.
According to Sousa, larger classes used to be much more difficult to manage before the addition of newer residential buildings like 70 McCormick Road and 51 McInnes Road. For the time being, the expanding incoming classes will all have a space on campus.
However, concerns also arise regarding the allocation of merit and financial aid if class sizes keep increasing, a suspicion refuted by Karen Pellegrino, dean of enrollment.
The reason the class of 2018 is particularly large is because there were “stronger students yielded at a higher rate,” Pellegrino said. Despite Fairfield’s acceptance rate rising from 70 percent to 71 percent, she added that the mean SAT scores increased, making this year’s freshman class stronger than previous years.
As it relates to financial aid, the more people on campus the better, since if more tuition is being paid, then more funds are available to the university and the students as a whole, Pellegrino said. She assured that the new large class would not cause a “pull back” of already given aid.
For Fairfield students, the increase in class sizes doesn’t seem to cause constraints.
After speaking with Samiha Julakha ‘18 and Alexandra Kosmidis ‘18, both reported having intro level courses and First Year Experience groups that are within the university’s average class size of “around 12-20” students.
For Eman Jebara ‘17, the increase in class size is both “a good and bad thing.”
“I like that the school is growing and expanding, which is important, but at the same time I chose Fairfield because of its smaller class sizes,” said Jebara.