Rowan University welcomes largest 1st-year class in institution’s history

With fanfare and traditions, Rowan University welcomed its largest first-year class in the institution’s history this past weekend.

Rowan joins other New Jersey-based schools touting the increase in enrollment. Montclair State University said it just had its largest incoming freshman class with 4,065 members in the Class of 2026, and Kean University said its fall enrollment was projected to be the highest in the school’s history with more than 2,000 students registered a week before classes were set to begin.

In addition to the class of approximately 2,760 students that arrived amid Ali Houshmand’s 10th year as president, Rowan welcomed an estimated 2,000 transfer and international students, including attendees from 22 states and 14 countries (with the furthest, from the Philippines, traveling 8,559 miles).

All students came to the Glassboro campus at a pivotal point in the school’s history.

In just the past year, the Chronicle of Higher Education named Rowan the third-fastest-growing public research university in America; Rowan entered into a dynamic and transformational partnership with Virtua Health, South Jersey’s largest health care provider, to expand education and research through the Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences of Rowan University; and the university announced plans to create the School of Veterinary Medicine, the first in New Jersey.

Houshmand noted: “More than ever, families are closely evaluating quality and affordability. The pandemic and the nation’s subsequent economic downturn led to more families looking in-state rather than attending school out-of-state. People are excited by the incredible transformation we have experienced over the past decade and see the many opportunities available to them.”

The Chronicle noted that, between 2010 and 2020, Rowan’s enrollment jumped from 11,300 students to 19,678, a 74.1% increase. For the 2021-22 school year, nearly 23,000 unique students attended.

With the start of classes, Rowan has 19,601 students this semester, a figure that could fluctuate over the first few weeks.

Importantly, students whose families earn less than $65,000 will attend for free.

“We are growing every day,” Houshmand told students Sunday. “You have chosen a great school and will see so many changes.”

Under Houshmand’s leadership, Rowan this year also will open the long-awaited Wilson Hall Dance Studio and, next summer, the $73 million Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park Museum in Mantua Township.