SLU Enrolls Second-Largest Freshman Class in University History
On Aug. 28, Saint Louis University started the first day of the 2017 academic year
with 1,640 first-time freshmen, a more than 4 percent increase over last year. Hailing
from 43 U.S. states and 40 foreign nations, the new class is the second-largest in
the University’s nearly 200-year history.
“Given the decreasing numbers of high school graduates, the growth in the new class
is wonderful,” said Jean Marie Gilman Cox, SLU’s dean of admission. “It is very exciting
to see some of the nation’s most talented and dedicated students making SLU their
university of choice.”
The freshman class has an average high school GPA of 3.9 and an average ACT composite
score of 28.1 — an all-time high for SLU — placing these new Billikens among the top
10 percent of all students tested in the United States.
The average standardized admission exam scores for incoming students at SLU have improved
each year since 2010. The University has enrolled five of its largest and most academically
gifted freshman classes since 2011.
New Home Away from Home
Many of SLU’s first-year students will live on campus in one of the University’s two
new residence halls, Grand Hall and Spring Hall, which opened in 2017 and 2016. Featuring
suite-style rooms and numerous amenities, these new housing facilities represent a
nearly $115 million investment in the on-campus experience for students.
Ready to Serve
In addition to SLU’s rigorous, Jesuit-based education, the newest Billikens are clearly
excited to embrace the University’s long tradition of service to others. Nearly 90
percent of them have indicated that they will engage in volunteer activities. SLU
is the No. 4 university in the nation for community service according to Washington Monthly.
More Enrollment Milestones
First-day undergraduate enrollment increased over last year as well. Jay Goff, SLU’s
vice president for enrollment and retention management, said the growth was aided
by the University retaining returning students at record levels and new growth among
For three consecutive years, Saint Louis University’s retention rate (the percentage
of first-year students who return for a second year) has been 90 percent or higher.
Nationally, the average first-to-second year retention rate for private doctoral universities
is about 82 percent.
New international partnerships and recruitment programs have also increased enrollments
this year. More than 260 new international students have started classes on the St.
Louis campus, compared to 165 students in 2016. SLU’s Madrid campus expects a larger
freshman class this year as well.
"The entire campus community has worked very hard to make sure student success is
our top priority and that SLU has an inclusive environment that supports students
from throughout the world,” Goff said.
First-day enrollment for graduate and professional students is somewhat lower than
last year. Goff said that was due primarily to higher graduation rates among post-baccalaureate
students and declines in select disciplines.
Overall, first-day registration levels indicate that Saint Louis University will have
approximately 12,900 degree-seeking students from all 50 U.S. states and more than
76 foreign countries this fall. That total does not include the more than 6,500 students
expected to participate in SLU’s dual credit and workforce development programs.
Student registration continues through the week, and final census enrollment figures
will be available later in the fall.
To learn more about becoming a student at Saint Louis University, visit slu.edu/admission.