Approximately 950 students were admitted to California Lutheran University this fall, the largest number in 59 years.
The total number of undergraduate students now stands at just under 3,000, Dean of Undergraduate Admission Michael Elgarico said.
Nearly 700 incoming first-year and close to 260 transfer students now represent Cal Lutheran, according to a press release on the university website.
“Overall, I would say that we probably had more students apply this year, but it’s not astronomically more students. I think what the difference with this record class is that we had more students decide that they would like to make Cal Lutheran their home,” Elgarico said.
Among the first-year students admitted are 42 international students from 28 different countries, according to a press release on the Cal Lutheran website. The new students come from countries including Syria, Mongolia, Israel and Zimbabwe.
Elgarico said the number of applicants from diverse backgrounds has been steadily increasing over the last couple of years.
“I’ve been here since 2011. Since then what’s been interesting to see is that the diversity and composition of the applicant pool has changed dramatically,” Elgarico said. “I think we’re proactively trying to be more inclusive in our recruitment efforts and we’re inviting a lot more students from a range of different backgrounds to learn about the Cal Lutheran experience.”
However, the rise in admitted students at Cal Lutheran has not been a trend with universities around the area.
Falone Serna, director of admissions at Pepperdine University, said in an email interview that the university had a 2.5 percent decrease in applicants in 2018 from the previous year. This comes after having an 11 percent increase in applications in 2016, and a five percent application increase in 2017.
Serna said the rise in admitted students at Cal Lutheran may be attributed to a larger pattern seen in other universities across the state.
“In California this year, many schools over-enrolled because they experienced stronger yield and lower melt than expected,” Serna said in an email interview.
Yield is the percentage of students that historically accept their offers of admission. Melt is how many students historically withdraw their deposit.
California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI) maintained their admission numbers relative to previous years, according to Provost Geoffrey Chase at CSUCI.
“Our admissions have been steadily growing since Channel Islands was founded in 2002. We’ve been admitting students strategically so we can maintain our class sizes,” Chase said.
As for the increase in students at Cal Lutheran, Elgarico said he does not see it being a problem for maintaining small classroom sizes.
According to the Cal Lutheran homepage, the average class size is 15 students.
“In terms of class sizes, we do still try to keep the sizes small. So, part of that is when you have an increase [in students], bodies are adding additional sections of [classes], so the class sizes can stay the same…Students will still have the personalized one-on-one attention with small classes,” said Ineke Dyer, associate director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission.
Dyer said that the number of incoming first-year and transfer students does not affect the cost of tuition.
“They’re really kind of two separate things in terms of what we charge for tuition and how many students were accepted to enroll,” Dyer said. “The acceptance rate has gone up, I think. More students are applying; We’re accepting more since more students are choosing us.”
Elgarico said on-campus housing has not been an issue this semester.
“I think right now we’re at a critical juncture where if we decided to grow, we have to think about what kind of housing we can offer our students,” Elgarico said. “I think the next few years will be a good way to determine [if] we need another residence hall.”
Cal Lutheran currently guarantees housing for all undergraduate students.
“There’s a lot of factors that we, as a private university in the state of California, have,” Elgarico said. “We’re very fortunate to be operating as well as we are right now because not every school can do that.”