Loyola University of Maryland has the largest and most racially diverse class, with the highest average high school GPA in the university’s 170-year history, at the college’s freshman call on Friday, Sept. 2, 2026. welcomed the class of
The class is made up of 1,290 students, the largest class in college history with over 157 students, and 39% self-identify as students of color. The class also yielded the highest average high school GPA of 3.66 for the upcoming class, just above her 2025 class, who entered with an average GPA of 3.65. Additionally, the class broke records with 25% of students entering college as the first generation in their families and 21% qualifying for a federal Pell Grant for financial need.
Loyola President Terrence M. Sawyer said: “Each individual brings their own strengths, experiences and understanding of the world to contribute to Loyola’s wider community. Loyola is proud to contribute to their growth as well.”
Students come from 38 states and US territories, and 3 countries outside the US. The class includes 37% from Maryland. 70 of those students are from Baltimore City, an 84% increase from last year. Maryland is followed by New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, Delaware, Puerto Rico, Florida, and internationally Spain, Ireland and Denmark.
In addition to the new classes, overall undergraduate enrollment is on pace to exceed 3,900 this fall. This is the fourth-highest number of undergraduates in the school’s history. Loyola also has the largest number of transfer students in seven years, with 55 freshmen joining other classes at the university.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome this historic number of students to Loyola this year,” said Eric Nichols, Vice President of Admissions. “It’s clear that the Loyola experience has resonated with future families. It takes an entire campus to enroll a class, but our campus community has really excelled this year.”
freshman read vanishing half By Britt Bennett as the common text for the 2026 class. The novel tackles multidimensional aspects of identity, community, and connection, and goes beyond self to address social issues such as racism, colorism, sexism, and homophobia. Loyola’s faculty integrates the novel into class discussions and programming throughout the student’s first year.
Associate Professor of Philosophy and 2022 Distinguished Teacher of the Year, Dr. Mavis Biss, spoke at a freshman assembly. Bis specializes in ethics, German philosopher Immanuel Kant, and feminist philosophy.
“You may know nothing about sociology or environmental science or statistics. “You may have heard of Zen Buddhism, but I have never meditated with a Zen teacher,” Biss told his students. The core point is to change you, and the greatest compliment you can give a professor is, “I’m glad I had to take this class. I didn’t choose it, but I loved it, so today try to surprise yourself with something that interests you.”
Freshmen meet classmates and learn about college life at Loyola’s Freshman Fall Welcome Weekend, September 1-5. This includes dormitory meetings, meal sharing, small group meetings, common text discussions, athletic activities, and academic open houses. .
Sawyer will take office as President of Loyola University Maryland on January 1, 2022. Loyola will host a series of events to celebrate Sawyer’s official inauguration as president on October 12th.