Largest Freshman Class in Nearly a Decade Coming to Iona University

Iona prepares to welcome one of its largest and most selective classes – again!

New Rochelle and Bronxville, N.Y. – These are exciting times at Iona University, where the Class of 2028 is set to be the largest freshman class in at least eight years.

Driven in part by new academic programs and degrees coupled with expanded opportunities for students to “Learn Outside the Lines” of the classroom, new student enrollment is up 16 percent year over year and 42 percent since 2019.

The incoming class is also one of Iona’s strongest, most selective and most diverse group of students, representing 26 states and 11 countries. Impressively, the class includes 38 high school class presidents and 256 members of the National Honor Society with an overall average GPA of 3.4. Iona’s Honors Program has also expanded to meet the ongoing interest, with an average incoming Honors GPA of 3.96 and an SAT score of 1270 for those who opted to submit.

Given the strong applicant pool, Iona’s acceptance rate also dropped this year. That means it was more competitive for students to become members of Gael Nation.

“Our continued growth is a testament to the value of an Iona education and the success our students have in the world after graduation,” said Iona President Seamus Carey, Ph.D. “I look forward to welcoming the Class of 2028 and watching our students flourish during their time here.”

Meet the Class of 2028

Building upon its mission of providing a transformative education especially for first-generation students, 47 percent of incoming students reported they are the first in their families to attend college. There are also many siblings and children of alumni in this year’s incoming class, which speaks to the satisfaction families experience and their likelihood to recommend Iona.

Reflecting Iona’s foundation of faith, Iona also saw a 6 percent increase in enrollment from Catholic high schools. Notably, The Wall Street Journal ranked Iona among the top 10 Catholic universities in the nation and #1 for student experience across all Catholic colleges.

Incoming students continue to be attracted to academic programs such as Nursing, Business Administration, Finance, Psychology, Education, Criminal Justice, Computer Science, Accounting, Biology and new this year: Iona’s Health and Wellness bachelor’s degree. Direct-entry programs for Speech Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy were also popular.

In addition, the class showed strong extracurricular interest in Iona’s Division I Athletics program, as well as club sport and performing arts, including the university’s new acapella group, the NightinGAELS. Nearly 300 incoming freshmen also committed to participating in service opportunities locally, nationally or around the world.

“Our remarkable almost 17 percent rise in enrollment exemplifies Iona's commitment to delivering a top-tier college experience. From our diverse academic offerings and esteemed faculty to our supportive staff and state-of-the-art facilities, we pave the way for exceptional career opportunities,” said Kevin O'Sullivan, senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Affairs. “I extend my gratitude to our Admissions and Financial Aid staff for navigating this year’s challenging FAFSA rollout. Their dedication to our students and families throughout this time directly translates into our outstanding achievements, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

A School on the Rise 

Iona is a Master’s-granting Catholic institution founded in 1940 and inspired by the legacy of Blessed Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers.

Among numerous national rankings, The Princeton Review this year included Iona for the first time ever in its “Best 389 Colleges” nationwide. In addition, The Wall Street Journal ranked Iona as the #66 Best College in America, including the #8 best Catholic college in the nation and #1 for student experience in New York. Iona also tied Yale as the #4 most recommended college in the Northeast by students in the WSJ rankings.

Furthermore, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, Iona also ranks in the top 5 percent nationwide for the highest return on investment both 30 and 40 years after graduation. This is further supported by Iona’s Center for Career Development, which has seen a 94 percent placement rate for the graduating Class of 2023.

Prime Locations Around the World 

Iona’s two picturesque campuses – in New Rochelle and Bronxville, N.Y. – are both just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.

In addition to the new 28-acre campus in Bronxville, featuring the state-of-the-art Kelly Center for Health Sciences, Iona students have also been making full use of the new Murphy Green in the heart of the New Rochelle campus. Plus, coming Spring 2025 in New Rochelle, a brand-new dining hall and student union experience will open adjoined to the Murphy Green, further enhancing both the dining as well as the overall student experience on campus.

Connecting to its Irish legacy, Iona also just opened a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland, located on the historic 400-acre Westport House Estate. The first cohort of nursing students is currently in Westport, gaining international clinical experience in the Irish hospital system. Philosophy students, meanwhile, are also exploring the central role music plays in the human experience while earning credits toward the core curriculum.  

Academic Excellence

Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs across three schools: the School of Arts & Science, LaPenta School of Business and the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences. In addition, the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation offers dynamic degree programs and is available to all students across academic disciplines.

Iona will also soon open the Gabelli Center for Teaching & Learning. Envisioned as a vibrant hub for institutional innovation, faculty development and thought leadership, the Gabelli Center’s first focus will be AI@Iona. The initiative aims to stimulate, support and coordinate faculty and student engagement with the powerful and rapidly evolving capabilities of artificial intelligence.

Learn Outside the Lines

Outside of the classroom, meanwhile, Iona boasts 24 Division I varsity sports, including its two newest teams – men's lacrosse and women’s acrobatics and tumbling – as well as women’s golf launching for the 2025-26 academic year.

Iona students can also join over 80 student clubs and leadership organizations spanning an array of interests, including active fraternities and sororities. Iona has a robust club sports program – featuring 13 new teams, including a championship esports team – plus a thriving performing arts program and wide range of service opportunities through the Office of Mission & Ministry. All programs are geared toward developing new and lasting friendships while also building leadership skills and enhancing student engagement across campus.

Members of the Iona community are known as Gaels, who are people with Irish-Gaelic ancestry. Notable Iona alumni include Alfred F. Kelly Jr., former executive chairman and CEO of Visa Inc.; Margaret C. Timoney, CEO of HEINEKEN USA; Thomas J. Baldwin, CEO of Benihana; Gregory C. Cairo, CEO of Le Creuset USA; Robert Greifeld, former CEO of Nasdaq; and musician Don McLean, most famous for his song "American Pie.”

Berrick Jean-Louis and friends sit on the quad and chat.

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.