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SUNY Cortland welcomes biggest first-year class in decades

SUNY Cortland will welcome nearly 1,400 first-year students in Fall 2022 — the university’s largest first-year class in 33 years and a major achievement given enrollment challenges facing higher education institutions across the country.

The university expects 1,384 first-year students, the most in the more than three decades first-year attendance has been tracked. More than 11,700 students applied for admission for the fall semester, which officially began Monday.

“This is an extraordinary milestone,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “Students and their families realize that they can receive a world-class education at an affordable cost while enjoying the unique academic, athletic and social experience this university offers. SUNY Cortland is an amazing institution with faculty, staff and alumni who truly care about our students.”

Nationally, post-secondary enrollment declined 4.1% over a one-year span in 2022, according to National Student Clearinghouse data. Bitterbaum credited the efforts of the university’s Admissions Office, especially given challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. 

Among the highlights that SUNY Cortland emphasizes in student recruitment:

  • Nearly 70 academic majors span education, business, science, the humanities, performing arts and many in-demand professional fields.

  • More than 85% of Cortland students pursue career readiness experiences such as internships, undergraduate research and field placements, supported by offices ranging from Career Services to Alumni Engagement.

SUNY Cortland’s newest students raised their smartphones to confirm responses to questions during Academic Convocation in the Student Life Center on Aug. 28.

The majority of SUNY Cortland’s first-year class entering in Fall 2022 — more than 95% — comes from New York state, with 19 total states represented. The five most common New York counties represented included Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Onondaga and Orange.

In addition to 21 former high school class presidents and 19 vice presidents, SUNY Cortland’s newest students include five valedictorians and two salutatorians.

In 2021, the university placed No. 46 in the nation — the second-highest ranked SUNY comprehensive college — for service, social mobility and value, according to Washington Monthly, and recently earned recognition in the 2022 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings.