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Avila Welcomes the Largest Incoming Class in Institutional History

While many colleges and universities are struggling with enrollment numbers, Avila University enrolled the largest incoming class in institutional history this fall.

Kansas City, Missouri, Aug. 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- While many colleges and universities are struggling with enrollment numbers, Avila University enrolled the largest incoming class in institutional history this fall. “We are already ahead of the traditional undergraduate enrollment pace from last year by nearly 200 students – that’s a 70% increase year over year,” said Josh Parisse, vice president of enrollment management. Avila commits to providing “access through affordability, quality individualized education, and passionate people that will invest in the lives of our students.”

This class, now 501 students, consists of freshman, transfer, and international student populations. 78% of these students are local to the Kansas City metro. “We’re seeing exciting interest from international students (with more to come), and our MASSIVE increase resides with incoming freshmen, up 100% from last year,” said Parisse.

This impressive incoming class results from many efforts on campus to position Avila as the private university of access. “New and seasoned collaborations with organizations like the Hispanic Development Fund, KC Scholars, and MCCKC, a dedicated recruitment campaign in our local KC backyard, and the unwavering dedication of our enthusiastic admissions and coaching teams who wholeheartedly support our ACCESS mission have all come together to create this remarkable Avila class,” said Parisse.

These initiatives, paired with the legacy of the Sisters of St. Joseph to ‘serve the dear neighbor,’ is in part why the University was named among the “Top Performers on Social Mobility, Regional Universities Midwest” by U.S. News & World Report (2023).

The future of Avila lies within this incoming Eagle class. We are building a university of access for them, and they are shaping what we will become tomorrow.  “More Avila Eagles on campus allows for increased opportunity to help launch greater numbers of ambitious change-makers into a life of impact and success,” said Parisse.

“It’s a clear sign of the institution's growing reputation and appeal. The increased enrollment can lead to a more diverse and vibrant student body, enriching the academic environment and fostering a strong sense of community. Moreover, the influx of students can boost the college’s resources, enabling the expansion of programs, co-curricular activities, and student support services,” said Curtis Burton, Dean of Students.

Avila University, founded in 1916 as St. Theresa’s College, moved in 1963 to its present-day south Kansas City campus as a response to growing enrollment. That begs the question of whether today’s campus will suffice for this growing population of students and what may lie ahead.

“We are taking strategic measures to expand facilities, enhance infrastructure, and optimize resources to ensure a smooth transition. Our priority is to maintain the quality of education and student experience while effectively meeting the needs of the growing student body. This includes increasing housing options and bolstering support services to ensure all students can thrive academically and socially,” said Burton.

Committed to inspiring students and providing access and resources to encourage long-term success, Avila is also providing new opportunities and welcoming new students through a wide range of new programs, including new degree programs, STEM curriculum, an accelerated nursing program, study abroad and other opportunities that will attract a diverse spectrum of students.  Avila has also hired additional professional advisors bolstering student success as we continue to assess the needs of this large, incoming class.

“We have many reasons to be excited about this coming school year and our long-term future,” said Jim Burkee, PhD, president of the university. “Simply put: Avila is committed to finding innovative ways to serve the evolving needs of our students, faculty and staff– today and for generations to come.”


For more information about Avila’s growing enrollment, or to set up an interview with Dr. Burkee, contact Sara Kline, director of communications at 816-501-2422.

Sara Kline
Avila University