Enrollment rebounds at Cal Lutheran

Majority of new undergrads are students of color

California Lutheran University Class of 2026.

Photo: Tracie Karasik

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Aug. 29, 2022) As the 2022-23 fall semester gets underway at California Lutheran University, new student enrollment numbers have nearly rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

About 844 undergraduate students are scheduled to enter Cal Lutheran for the first time this fall. Of those, 628 are first-year students and 216 are transfer students. Around 60% are students of color; 43% are the first in their families to attend college; and 4% are international students. Total undergraduate enrollment is approximately 2,440 (numbers can shift slightly after the semester begins).

“Year-to-date our first-year numbers are up 22% and our transfer numbers are up 39%,” said Falone Serna, dean of undergraduate admission and outreach. “Housing is full, which I take as a good sign we are moving forward as we continue to return to some sense of post-pandemic normalcy.”

Cal Lutheran President Lori Varlotta said the university’s “robust scholarship strategies are doing a great job in removing some of the financial barriers that make it challenging for students from lower- and middle-income families, and those from underrepresented groups to attend a top-notch private university like Cal Lutheran.”

Cal Lutheran also has about 1,100 graduate students, in Thousand Oaks and at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley.

There are 117 new international graduate and undergraduate students from 26 countries including Iran, Spain, Peru, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

“The pandemic actually helped us reach more students in more countries,” said Dane Rowley, director of international admission. “We’ve integrated virtual recruitment into our outreach, which allows us to connect to countries we’ve never been to.”

All undergraduate and most graduate students begin classes Monday, Aug. 29, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley begins classes Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The university also welcomes 26 new faculty members, including 10 visiting faculty.

New students will get to know the campus and community through a mix of activities and orientation traditions that started Friday, Aug. 26, including a group service project; a hike to paint the CLU rocks on Mount Clef Ridge; a President’s Dinner; and welcome-back socials for athletes, families, and commuter and transfer students.  

Week of Welcome events starting Monday, Aug. 29, for new and returning students include the traditional “ringing of the bell” at the flagpole and an outdoor movie showing in Kingsmen Park.


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