This fall, Mercy University welcomed the largest freshman class in its history to its Westchester, Manhattan and Bronx Campuses. The 2023-2024 class of nearly 1200 students represents a 28% increase over the previous year, fueled by record applications and campus visits, and reflects the University’s significant programmatic and campus improvements. In addition, this class has the highest academic profile in University history, with impressive resumes filled with leadership roles, creative endeavors, and work experience.
“This year’s record-breaking freshman class is just one of the magnificent changes happening with our new University status,” says Susan Parish, Ph.D., M.S.W., who was installed as Mercy’s 13th president in September. “We have ambitious goals to redefine higher education, and we’re delighted that so many see the value of attending Mercy to pursue their degrees and jump into their careers.”
Mercy University is the largest private, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the region and became the first private 4-year institution in the country to earn the prestigious Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education, a national certification which recognizes its intentional and successful advancement of Latino student prospects. Mercy is the first HSI in New York State to receive this certification.
This year, half of freshman acceptances and 60% of committed students identify as Hispanic/Latino and about 85% of the freshman class identify as a student of color, highlighting the diversity that has been the hallmark of the University.
Mercy has long been committed to college access and has one of the lowest tuition rates of private, four-year institutions in the region. This year, nearly 75 percent of new freshmen are eligible for Federal Pell Grants providing them additional assistance to an already low tuition rate.
Vice President for Enrollment Management Adam Castro believes the University has been able to stand out in the crowded higher education market in New York by remaining true to its mission and making several key improvements in areas like the campus visit experience, financial aid packaging and presentation, and connecting prospective students and families with Mercy faculty. The University’s participation in two national direct admissions pilot programs, The Common Application and College Greenlight, also yielded students into the class.
“It is incredibly rewarding to work at a place like Mercy that is so deeply committed to its mission of providing students access to quality higher education,” said Castro. “Being able to achieve such a strong enrollment result by leaning into that mission is an incredible feeling. Mercy strives to be an integral part of the communities in which we reside, and we try to build lasting, meaningful relationships with students, families, school counselors, community leaders, and the business community. Those relationships serve as the foundation of this exceptional class.”
In recent years, Mercy has been focused on transformational strategies to serve its students and position them to succeed. These include the implementation of a series of evidence-based practices known to increase rates of academic achievement for all students; proactive advising through the PACT mentoring program; introductory courses redesigned with academic supports; and career-focused curricula. Mercy has also invested in site improvements on the Westchester, Manhattan, and Bronx Campuses to enhance the overall student experience. The University has renovated academic, residential, and athletic facilities, along with innovative learning environments such as clinical simulation labs, a music recording studio, a business school trading room, and cybersecurity labs for hands-on learning.
Editor’s Note: This story updates a previous one from our newsroom in spring 2023.